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It's About the Melody

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Album Review

Hailing from the Washington, D.C., area, pianist/composer William Knowles and bassist/lyricist Mark Saltman collaborate with vocalist Lori Williams to present ten original jazz songs. As referenced by the title, these selections are melodic to a certain degree, but not saturated or sugary. Counterpoint between voice and instruments is kept to a minimum and the songs are maintained in a similar introspective mood, mostly midtempo with no torch songs or ballads. A Latin tinge is used here and there, while saxophonist Charles Langford chimes in and solos regularly. There's a sense of deliberateness to this music; little is left to chance or spontaneity. It's nice music throughout. Knowles is a fine pianist and you would like to hear him stretch a bit on his own, and the voice of Williams, though samey in her intimate insightfulness, is pleasant enough, using vocalese during one tune, "Freetime." They step out slightly on the Wayne Shorter-esque modern swinger "The Shadow in My Mind," the turnaround tune "The Joke's on Me" (where the woman asks the man to marry her), and the sweet modal waltz "Love Echoes." The slight call-and-response during "Brighter Days" and piano/vocal unison line on "The Color of Midnight" hint at an ability to extrapolate further. Award Brownie points for not doing standards, though surely they have previously, and note promise for the future in extended forms for a group that perhaps is best heard in live performance. ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi

Customer Reviews

A True Pleasure

Lori Williams' voice is full of color and passion. Her instrument has an effortless fluidity and her technique is impeccable. She is a true vocalist. "The Shadow In My Mind" is a favorite. The Saltman/Knowles quintet has truly made a masterpiece. Bravo and brava!

It's About the Melody, Saltman Knowles Quintet
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