Kerry Politzer

Pianist Kerry Politzer Releases Sixth Album

Saturday, June 7th, 2014

Award-winning composer and pianist Kerry Politzer has just released her sixth album, Below The Surface.

The songwriter has crafted ten new songs: some subtle extensions of identity, others relying on the unique chemistry of local jazz talent. This ensemble features other high profile band leaders: on trumpet Thomas Barber and sax man David Valdez (both also with the band Spiral Road).

Politzer brings a naturally telepathic approach to the tracks, imparting melodic unisons as well as call and answer dialogues across the disc. The album opens with the imploring “Two Worlds,” where both Barber and Valdez set the tone. Probably the best two tracks are “Empty Hours,” which reminds me of some pieces Ralph Towner might have written, if only for the unique intervals of the melody line. Barber shines on the first solo, giving a straight ahead reading. Politzer’s solo follows up into Colligan’s outro drum cadenza which tops off the swirling ride.

A standard trio piece that sticks out to me is “Echo Says,” where Politzer herself leads in with an emotive phrase that is a romantic, tender, but firm statement. Politzer’s style as a composer seems more informed by a unique synergy between McCoy Tyner’s approach or Carla Bley’s than rather Corea or Evans, as she has been previously compared. She’s very chordal with slight inversions doing exactly what the song needs to create a broad structure over which her soloists thrive.

Together Politzer and her husband, the multi-talented George Colligan (here on drums) add the appropriate stab and accent across the disc that reflects the live band sound and just some of the excitement that was happening in the studio.

Compared to her previous albums, there is less of a Latin influence, but that’s no deterrent to the overall impact of the album. The brief introspective solo track, “In Spring,” closes out the disc with a classy touch of bittersweet irony.

 

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