jane ira bloom trio at cornelia street cafe, nyc, may 21

  • photography by Clara Pereira / text by Filipe Freitas

On Sunday, May 21st, American soprano saxophonist Jane Ira Bloom has stepped on the bandstand of Cornelia Street Café accompanied by a taut rhythm section consisting of longtime cohorts Mark Helias on double bass and Bobby Previte on drums and percussion. The show served to promote her latest album, Early Americans (Outline, 2016), a solid body of work inspired by the work of the American poet Emily Dickinson. 

The opening track of the album, “Song Patrol”, was also the opener of the performance. Once the groove was installed, Ms. Bloom delivered the theme’s melody with confidence and immediately took off for an improvisational trip, in which we could hear rapid-fire phrases adorned with episodic rhythmic motifs.

The piece that followed, “Varo”, is not new. It was recorded in 1987 for the album Modern Drama and also in 2001 for Sometimes The Magic. According to the drummer, this was the very first tune this trio played together. The cohesive interplay between Helias and Previte, who embarked on a sort of Afro-Latin rhythmic excursion, was really something, and the energy conveyed hit the audience with a loud bang.
At the end, Bloom stated: “How I love to play in trio!”

Mind Gray River”, which moved at a slower tempo, and the articulated “Singing the Triangle” were the tunes that followed. Boasting an entrancing deep sound, Helias stood out on both of them, first by strumming the bass strings with great sense of tempo on the former, and then delivering a wonderful solo on the latter. In addition to these, the other tunes retrieved from the new album were “Dangerous Times”, played as a part of a medley that included African rhythms and bowed bass, “Cornets of Paradise”, a pure blend of hasty swinging grooves and musculated rock pulses, “Other Eyes”, a ballad at its core but vigorously propelled by Previte’s  jittery drumming, and the closing rockish piece “Big Bill”.

Scattered among the pieces cited above, were “Life on Cloud 8” drawn from Wingwalker, an album dated from 2010 and recorded with this same band, and Kurt Weill’s “Lost In the Stars”.

In top form, Jane Ira Bloom trio rocked while having fun, energizing whoever was in the packed room with a groovy cocktail of post-bop, rock, and avant-garde jazz.