Friday, November 6, 2015

Caili O'Doherty, Padme

I sometimes find myself backlogged with too much music to cover, too much that is good to cover in a timely way. Here for example I find myself writing about the music of pianist-composer Caili O'Doherty on her album Padme (ODO 7001) when it has been out for a while. Never too late if the music is worthwhile, and it is!

When I went to Berklee so long ago there were maybe two women in the student body, none in the faculty and no one thought it odd. Now it is a different world and women of excellence are very much a part of the scene. So here's one for you today.The album is a vehicle for Caili's compositions but also shows her as a pianist who can improvise in ways that fit and exceed stylistic expectancies. The music is contemporary rock-beated or swung modern jazz with changes and interesting head structures, all in a today-oriented vein, but with twists and turns that give us another wise take on things, an O'Doherty side if you will, and a sense of jazz legacy.

There is a trio of O'Doherty, Zach Brown on bass and Cory Cox on drums (who is spelled by Adam Cruz for one number). Added to the mix at various points are Mike Bono on guitar, Alex Hargreaves on violin, and the horns of Caroline Davis, alto, Ben Flocks, tenor and Eric Miller, trombone. The guests fill in the charts well and give us at times their improvisations.

Caili's music lays right, whether in a post-Herbie-Nichols way, an ECM-ish composed form, ever-changing funk in a post-M-BASE mode, or any number of sidebars. The writing is impressive, the playing very good and the musical pleasure derived substantial.

This is her first album and I must say I expect we will be hearing more and more involved things in future from her pen and piano. But the music is there right now and sounds very well. A pleasure to hear, in fact.

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