Brandi Disterheft: bass, cello, vocals; Harold Mabern: piano; Joe Farnsworth: drums.
Canadian contrabassist, singer and composer, Brandi Disterheft, a true representative of the contemporary swinging jazz, releases her fourth album on Justin Time Records. As a valuable element of a younger generation, Ms. Disterheft had no problem in joining forces with two of the most streetwise musicians dwelling in the traditional jazz. I’m talking about the pianist Harold Mabern and the drummer Joe Farnsworth, her accomplices in Blue Canvas, a joyful work that abounds with seductive rhythms, colorful sounds and fiery improvisations.
“Dis Here”, Bobby Timmons’s 6/8 soul-jazz classic, worked miracles in my ears with its engrossing vibes, allowing the three musicians to show their improvisational skills.
The trio steps on a similar ground when playing other stylish bop tunes. In Mabern’s “Beehave”, the nature of the theme itself allows Farnsworth to express himself thoroughly behind the drum set before a frantic swing brings the house down.
The irresistible melodies of the hard-bopper trumpeter Clifford Brown are well replicated in a couple of tunes he wrote, “Daahoud” and “George’s Dilemma”. The former, so expressively caressing, diverges from the latter, which is vigorously propelled by a dazzling Latin pulse, perfect for Farnsworth’s exteriorization.
Ms. Disterheft assumes the responsibility of uttering the head’s melodic line both in Todd Dameron’s “Our Delight”, which boasts extroverted bass and piano solos, and Ann Ronell’s bluesy ballad “Willow Weep for Me”. She does it with smoothness.
However, this record doesn’t live exclusively from bop renditions. The three originals from Ms. Disterheft also weigh in the final balance. The gently Latinized “Cripping Thrill” is an impulsive, sensuous endeavor that ends up swinging strongly, yet my senses became much more alert with the title track, an up-tempo vocalized enticer that evokes Dizzy’s “Salt Peanuts” memorable line.
The clever selection of tunes gained more preponderance with the sturdy rapport of the trio, so essential to starting a new euphoria and bringing some freshness into the perennial swinging jazz.
01 – Dis Here ► 06 – Blue Canvas ► 07 – George’s Dilemma