It’s not often we have an opportunity to listen to the harp played in this context, superbly unveiled by composer and harpist Carol Robbins these For many of you I’m sure that you’re aware of this gifted musician, with her latest journey she takes jazz into a new dimension artistically with mesmerizing originals are engulfed in a sea of melodic-ism like you’ve never heard before on “MORAGA.” On this outing, she enlists some of the best in the business to perform on this project. When pianist Billy Childs name appeared, this reminded me that Carol played with Childs on his Grammy Award-winning recording “Lyric” (Jazz – Chamber Music, Vol. 1) back in 2005. Robbins adorable collection here is absolutely contagious and genuinely alluring. If you dig tightly-knitted interplay and incredible arrangements then I’m sure you’ll love this sublime offering by harpist Carol Robbins. —Rob Young | Urban Flux Media
Carol Robbins: Harp | Billy Childs: Piano | Larry Koonse: Guitar | Darek Oles: bass | Gary Novak: Drums
Jazz harpist Carol Robbins beautifully demonstrates her growing stature as a musician and composer on her latest CD Moraga. Her experience as a member of the Billy Childs’ Jazz Chamber Ensemble is vividly reflected in this sophisticated and distinctive project. A new freedom of expression and bold approach in her work is evident throughout. As her skill grows she continues to reveal the warmth and lyricism which has always been an integral part of her playing.
Robbins is privileged to perform her music with an eminent group of musicians. Each of these world-class artists brings unique musical talents to the set. Moraga consists of five Carol Robbins originals, a composition by Billy Childs, a Robbins arrangement of Nino Rota’s music and two standards.
“Moraga”,the title track, sets the tone for the CD. It is characterized by a driving rhythm and compelling solos by Robbins and Childs. Gary Meek plays the melody on soprano sax with harp providing harmony. The piece is rich with interplay between the harp and piano with the colors of the two instruments compliment each other throughout the piece.
“The Sand Rover” evokes a journey in the desert. It begins with a free, languid improvisation by all. After a short solo, Darek Oles lays down the insistent, propulsive bass line. The angular melody is played on soprano sax and doubled on harp. Billy Childs and Gary Meek deliver exciting, edgy solos. The rhythmic landscape created by Novak and Oles mesmerizes the listener.
“Three Rings”was written in honor of composer Nino Rota. It is a melancholy minor waltz with the melody played hauntingly on clarinet and guitar. A lyrical harp solo is followed by soulful play from Koonse.
“Dolore”,grief in Italian, was written to express loss. This pensive bossa nova showcases the musical bond between Robbins and Koonse. They trade melody and harmony, comp for each other and converse with their instruments effortlessly. The result is an evocative and moving track.
Burningly up-tempo “Straight Away” features everyone. Gary Meek and Billy Childs provide virtuoso solos. Robbins grooves in a half time bluesy interlude and Gary Novak’s solo displays his phenomenal chops and musicality. The tune ends with brilliant trading between Childs and Meek spectacularly supported by the cooking, locked rhythm section.
In a moving tribute to the best traditions of jazz, Robbins and Childs along with the rhythm section play a graceful rendition of Cole Porter’s “Every Time We Say Goodbye”. Robbins gives the harp solo her accustomed warmth and harmonic acuity. Childs’ plays a brilliant, masterful solo. In the third solo, Darek Oles displays his rich tone and insightful play. The result is a lovely tribute to this venerable standard.
Billy Childs’ intriguing composition“Hope In The Face Of Despair” was first recorded on “Lyric”, the first CD by his Jazz Chamber Ensemble. Robbins arrangement of the piece features the matchless excellence of guitarist Larry Koonse. Inspiring solos are played on guitar, harp and bass in this unusual and intriguing rendition of the piece.
Robbins and Koonse honor the genius of composer Antonio Carlos Jobim with their duo interpretation of his beautiful “Caminhos Cruzados”. The two musicians’ effortless collaboration is transparently reflected on this tender track.
The CD finishes with “Rotadendron”, a medley culled from the music of Nino Rota and arranged by Robbins. It is performed as a duo with piano. With Billy Childs’ inimitable and ingenious improvisations, the piece is a unique and involving coda to the project.
“Moraga” adds significantly to the small but growing body of work by jazz harpists. The CD contributes to the maturity and importance of the harp in this idiom. Carol Robbins here demonstrates consequence and appeal and stands capably and impressively with her colleagues in jazz.
Artist Website: www.carolrobbins.net
Label Website: www.jazzcatsproductions.com
::: SOURCE: Jazz Promo Services.com :::