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.
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
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