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Return of the Composer

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Album Review

Regrettably, there is a major prejudice against singers in parts of the jazz world. It's a prejudice that seems very bizarre to musicians who come from rock, R&B, blues, country, and reggae backgrounds; singers, after all, reign supreme in most types of music. Nonetheless, that anti-singer attitude persists among quite a few jazz instrumentalists, but the good news is that not all instrumentalists feel that way. Take bassist Mark Saltman and pianist William Knowles, for example; their Washington, DC-based group Saltman/Knowles has featured singer Lori Williams Chisholm extensively, and she is an integral part of what they do on Return of the Composer. The intriguing thing is the way in which they feature her. In some cases, instrumentalists who don't have an anti-singer outlook and decide to feature a vocalist do so because they have written some lyrics and need someone they feel can do them justice, but only one of the songs on this acoustic post-bop outing has lyrics; most of the time, Chisholm provides wordless vocals. Chisholm, an expressive scat singer, gives the impression that she has spent a lot of time listening to Abbey Lincoln and Dianne Reeves — and some of her vocals show a fondness for Brazilian singers as well. Why is this 54-minute CD called Return of the Composer? Because unlike so many straight-ahead jazz artists, Saltman and Knowles don't inundate listeners with overdone Tin Pan Alley warhorses that have been beaten to death over the years. In fact, they play original material exclusively on Return of the Composer, which isn't an exceptional album but is definitely a solid and nicely executed one — and the presence of Chisholm is an obvious plus.

Return of the Composer, Saltman Knowles
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  • $9.90
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: Feb 10, 2009

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