Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Rallidae, Paper Birds

Not everything I hear gives me a clear, immediate reaction. The trio Rallidae and their EP Paper Birds (self-released) made me pause. What is it? What is my reaction? I was not sure at first. It's a trio of Angela Morris on tenor sax and vocals. These are her compositions. Alex Samaras vocalizes. Scott Colberg plays the contrabass and joins in on vocals at certain points.

This is open, free jazz oriented music, yet arranged in such a way that there are song elements as well, sometimes at the forefront. Angela plays tenor creatively and can be listened to with profit for what she alone is doing. Scott plays some quite appropriate bass. Alex sometimes scats and other times gets into the song-composed elements. The others contribute vocal harmonies or densities. Sometimes Angela takes the lead vocal and sounds fine.

That's the basic overview. But then what you get is so...peculiar in a creative way that it took me a while to absorb what is going on.

And then it came together for me, though it still is off-kilter enough to make me scratch my head now and again.

There is humor, poeticism, and the vocals have a slightly lounge-lizard meets modern-compositional-progressive feel to them. And after a while you get with that, appreciate the freedom inherent, dig into the compositions more fully.

And you are left with a feeling that this is NEW. So ultimately I came down on the side of, "yeah, alright"! If you are like me you may take a few listens to get there. Angela Morris has a concept, for sure. Let's see where she goes with it. In the meantime, this one has a provocative and fresh quality. Listen and hear for yourself.

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