Monday, September 12, 2016

Peggy Stern, Z Octet

Jazz-composer-pianist Peggy Stern is new to me. Her Austin, Texas-based music is very nicely presented on her recent Z Octet (Estrella Productions).

The Octet is a lively group of musicians well attuned to Peggy's arabesques, her contemporary freshness, her well-voiced, very original contemporary approach. Peggy's piano (and vocals on one number) are joined by a somewhat unusual instrumentation of clarinet, flute, trombone, cello, bass and drums, plus Suzi Stern on vocals for two pieces.

The lines she writes have unexpected aspects and tonal yet not-at-all common touches. And the sort of thoughtful arranging of the voicings gives you a sonance that stands out. There are good players here--capable of improvisations that have the sound of surprise that goes with Peggy's music.

Pretty outstanding, this all is! Get a copy if you want to dig into something new and substantial in the jazz composition realm.

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