Friday, April 20, 2012

CD Review - Jamie Ousley A Sea of Voices

Bassist Jamie Ousley has put out some very high quality material since 2008, but this is definitely his best: a kind of summation, gathering together and improving of all he had to say on his previous 2 excellent releases ("O Sorriso Dela" in 2008, "Back Home" in 2010). His already keen sense for appropriateness and when to do what seems to have reached a new pinnacle; his melodies are sturdier and gripping, and the new line-up seizes every opportunity for unity, flow and brilliant support. In particular, pianist Joe Davidian is perfect for Jamie's refined and sentimental brand of jazz. All three musicians bring just enough fire and virtuosity to give a sense of joy and contentment.

Joe Davidian
Jamie Ousley
Opening samba "Hymn of the Tides" (all songs have a water theme) is a perfect example of all these assets. Davidian states the promptly unforgettable melody, puts Jarrett amounts of thought into his own improv and then backs up Ousley's crystal solo with finesse; the always-present and flowing latin momentum provided by drummer Austin McMahon peaks at the end over a euphoric 2-chord vamp, while piano & bass exchange closing thoughts amid a wash of sizzling ride cymbal (mix & master job on the cd are both superb).

Davidian's intricate,
straight-8 re-working of "How Deep is the Ocean" is welcome and refreshing, taking the standard to unforeseen modernity and emotion. The trio captivates and convinces while empathizing for the greater good; reminiscent (as is much of the album) of the Rubalcaba and Jarrett trio's at their most liberated and uplifting periods. A listener will have no trouble stopping everything to take it all in.
Austin McMahon

Along with Jamie's originals ("Steam" - a darkest-corner-of the-club swank-blues; "Loving Beauty" fittingly titled jazz waltz; "With You" - another Ousley samba-special complete with exciting piano crescendo & finish, and what can only be described as a remarkably great melody; "Holy Water" calm soul-gospel 6/8 featuring a brief and very well-recorded Ousley solo of note) are a Coldplay cover
and a respectfully antiquated duo rendition of "Alfonsina y el Mar" with guest pianist Gabriel Saientz.

The icing on the cake are two back-to-back slices of eloquent Americana. A plaintive, soothing evocation of "Shenendoah" with vocalist Nanami Morikawa lending her beautiful mezzo-soprano to a verse each in English and Japanese (a proper dose of "World" sensibilities enfuse all of Ousley's releases). The ensuing bowed chorus also adds an Asian feel, and the harmonizing between the two performers is a high point of the disc. The syncopated latin 6 romp through "Rocky Top" will give you a new, happy outlook on life in our USA and you'll move somewhere in your body to the lilting percussion provided by Carlomagno Araya.

Finally, (as if you needed another reason to treat yourself to this marvelous disc); in an unselfish gesture, Jamie has allocated all proceeds of this successful cd (#8 on Jazzweek national radio chart) to Sunshine State Interfaith Power and Light, who are dedicated to mobilizing faith communities in Florida to care for creation. - PCJ

listen to & pick up your copy at:
CD Baby


No comments:

Post a Comment