Jane Ira Bloom
(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
Krentz Ratings:
We Are (1978), 5/10
Second Wind (1980), 5/10
Mighty Lights (1982), 7/10
As One (1984), 5.5/10
Modern Drama (1987), 5.5/10
Slalom (1988), 4/10
Art & Aviation (1992), 8/10
Nearness (1995), 5/10
The Red Quartets (1999), 7.5/10
Sometimes the Magic (2000), 5/10
Chasing the Paint (2002), 7.5/10
Like Silver Like Song (2004), 7/10
Mental Weather (2007), 5/10
Wingwalker (2010), 5/10
Sixteen Sunsets (2013), 7/10
Early Americans (2015), 5/10
Wild Lines (2017), 5/10

White soprano saxophonist Jane Ira Bloom (1955) carried out one of the most breathtaking excursions at the border between structure and improvisation. She started out in a very independent fashion with We Are (march 1978), a duet with bassist Kent McLagan, and Second Wind (june 1980), in a quintet with pianist Larry Karush and vibraphonist David Friedman, bridging Anthony Braxton and Coleman Hawkins. This attitude triumphed on Mighty Lights (november 1982), thanks to a quartet that featured pianist Fred Hersch and Ornette Coleman's rhythm section of two decades earlier, namely bassist Charlie Haden and drummer Ed Blackwell, and thanks to compositions such as 2-5-1 that embodied postmodernism at in its most subtle manifestation. After the transitional duets with Hersh of As One (september 1984), notably the nine-minute Waiting For Daylight, Hersh was promoted to electronic keyboards to create the brainy tapestry of Modern Drama (february 1987), that harked back to Paul Bley's experiments with live electronic music. The quartet with Hersh took a detour into the ballad format with Slalom (june 1988) before Bloom's compositional art peaked on Art & Aviation (july 1992). Featuring Bloom herself on live electronics, trumpeter Kenny Wheeler, bassist Michael Formanek and electro-acoustic percussionist Jerry Granelli (again, a line-up that resembled Ornette Coleman's piano-less quartet of thirty years earlier), the album merged her passion for abstract painting and her flair for melody in sophisticated visions such as Oshumare, Art & Aviation and especially Most Distant Galaxy. After another light-weight divertissment, Nearness (july 1995), featuring Wheeler, Hersh, trombonist Julian Priester, bassist Rufus Reid and drummer Bobby Previte, the quartet session with Hersch, bassist Mark Dresser and Previte that yielded The Red Quartets (january 1999) were a showcase for her surgical blend of design and performance, from the torrential Emergency to the sparse Tell Me Your Diamonds.

Replacing Hersh with Vincent Bourgeyx, Bloom's quartet made another u-turn towards melody on Sometimes the Magic (july 2000). In a unique way of asserting her role as a transmission chain, for every step she made towards free jazz, concept art and experimental counterpoint, Bloom also made a step backwards towards the roots of jazz and pop music.

Chasing Paint (may 2002), recorded by the classic quartet with Hersch, Dresser and Previte, was her tribute to one of her influences, Jackson Pollock's abstract painting, her motion-activated synthesizer haunting the cryptic meditations of Unexpected Light and Alchemy. Replacing Hersh with Jamie Saft, Like Silver Like Song (july 2004) was more than the usual retreat into melody: it balanced her split personality, not only alternating catchy tunes and free-form pieces but also fusing the two into the nine-minute Vanishing Hat.

Bloom is also a member of Atlantic/Pacific Waves with Chinese pipa player Min Xioa-Fen, Korean Komungo player Jin Hi Kim and bassist Mark Dresser.

Mental Weather (june 2007) featured her quartet: pianist Dawn Clement, bassist Mark Helias and drummer Matt Wilson. Bobby Previte replaced Wilson on Wingwalker (june 2010).

Sixteen Sunsets (june 2013) offers traditionals and originals performed by a quartet with Dominic Fallacaro (piano), Cameron Brown (bass) and Matt Wilson (drums).

Early Americans (september 2015) documents a trio with bassist Mark Helias and drummer Bobby Previte.

The double-disc Wild Lines (april 2017) documents saxophonist Jane Ira Bloom along with Dawn Clement (piano), Mark Helias (bass), Bobby Previte (drums) in a work inspired by Emily Dickinson's poems.

Tues Days (april 2021) documents improvised duets with drummer Allison Miller.

Some Kind Of Tomorrow (november 2020) documents duets between Jane Ira Bloom (soprano sax) and Mark Helias (double bass).

See Our Way (january 2022) collects improvisations between Mark Helias (bass) and Jane Ira Bloom (soprano sax).

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(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
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