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Hailey Niswanger, THE KEEPER

Hailey Niswanger -][- THE KEEPERMp3– [Calmit Productions, 2012 | Review] –

In recent years, through the wavering paradigm shift in the music industry younger jazz musicians it seems have kept their feet to the fire and patiently persevered to achieve their lifelong dream. These fearless titans are paramount in their quest to create an infinite and diverse platform globally by composing, playing and recording original music.

At 19, saxophone virtuoso and Houston, TX native Hailey Niswanger (pronounced “NICE-wonger”) debuted in 2009 with the impressive outing titled “CONFEDDIE.” I’m sure fans waited it seems a lifetime for Hailey to return with her highly anticipated release entitled “THE KEEPER” her sophomore offering with Calmit Productions.

With “The Keeper,” Niswanger offers a balanced attack of bop-influenced tunes anchored to redeeming qualities of cool and straight ahead jazz. She also composes all the original material, produces and re-fines timeless classics like “Milestones, Played Twice and Night and Day.”

Out of the gate, Niswanger and the crew serves up some seriously powerful progressions outlined on “Scraps.” No second guesting here, this twenty-two year old sax maven strut’s her stuff and backs it up effortlessly. Hailey is surprisingly comfortable as a player; you’ll find her timbre warm and vibrant on “Straight Up.” Listen up young lions and old school players alike watch, listen and take note this young player is shaking things up with this recording.

The third selection “Norman,” widens the playing field for Niswanger. Her proficient composing skills are top-shelve, Hailey articulates the classic jazz sound with immeasurable competence. Jazz lovers always welcome a Miles Davis tune to the mix, Niswanger nails a delightful rendition of “Milestones” featuring trumpeter Darren Barrett. Altogether the ensemble does this gem justice, there are no surprises but that’s not an issue because Hailey opens the door of communication to give these guys adequate time and opportunity to do what they do best play jazz!

The moody “Ravine” represents another side of Niswanger’s improvisational and expansive voice. Meanwhile, the band shifts gears to embody and explore the quintessential sounds of Monk titled “Played Twice.” Oh yeah, this is classic bop on exhibit fused with straight out tenacious interplay by the ensemble immediately deserves another spin.

One of the most pleasing aspects here is the variety of tempos on this project is very attractive. The melodic “Balance” promptly feels the space unselfishly to showcase Hailey’s expansive tone and deeper lyricism expressed through the tenor of her gorgeous voice on saxophone.

Raise in Portland OR, Niswanger obviously couldn’t resist the bright and winsome colors of Cole Porter’s “Night and Day. At the eight spot, this jewel features a gifted young pianist named Takeshi Ohbayashi along with Hailey on alto horn in a duo setting displays elegance and unexpected swiftness by them.

Throughout this splendid offering by Hailey Niswanger, “The Keeper” is comprised of eleven attractive jazz songs, eight originals and three classics for music enthusiasts to embellish. As a result, lovers of bop and straight ahead jazz will certainly savor the durable and lasting chemistry of “Tale of Dale” and the title “The Keeper” because of their riveting and indelible assets are two of the best songs on this engaging session by Niswanger.

After a few listens I’m still awe struck by the bop infused sounds of straight ahead jazz originals and remakes are without a doubt a satisfying main course to relish. Seriously, she’s unquestionably the genuine article. She delightfully renders the timeless components of traditional jazz with the adept prowess of artists many years her senior giving this journey a unique spin on jazz from the heart and soul of Hailey Niswanger.

Recommend by Rob Young | Urban Flux Media | Review

Meet the Band::

Hailey Niswanger – alto and soprano saxophone
Takeshi Ohbayashi – piano
Max Moran –bass
Mark Whitfield Jr.– drums
Darren Whitfield – trumpet (track 4, 5, & 9)

Track Listing:
1) Scraps
2) Straight Up
3) Norman
4) Milestones
5) Ravine
6) Played Twice
7) Balance
8) Night and Day
9) Tale of Dale
10) “B” Happy
11) The Keeper

Produced by Hailey NiswangerCalmit Productions | All compositions by Hailey Niswanger

For more information about pianist Hailey Niswanger please visit www.haileyniswanger.com.

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