Lauren Newton

Artesian Spirits

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This longstanding trio is a pure delight to hear. Recorded live in July 2003 at the second International Arts Festival in Borjomi, Georgia, Artesian Spirits adds drummer Vladimir Tarasov (of Ganelin Trio fame) to the duo documented on the Leo CD The Lightness of Hearing. Whenever Lauren Newton and Patrick Scheyder play together, a unique form of romanticism develops, a moving sensuality that resides in the heart of sound itself rather than in melody or lyrics. Tarasov's light-touch flurries, textural counterpoints, and occasional driving surges beautifully complement Scheyder's multi-stylistic approach to the piano and Newton's half-operatic half-onomatopoeic singing. The concert begins with the spotlight firmly set on the drum stool. Tarasov immediately grabs the listener's attention with his complex, multi-voiced solo. Newton's rising dirge may even go unnoticed at first, until the drummer opens a channel of communication and the two of them engage in a heated dialogue. Scheyder joins in for the second piece and the energy boils down in favor of raw yet refined emotion. "Song for Borjomi" provides a highlight, thanks to its sustained three-way discourse and a level of understanding and playfulness you simply cannot get from a first meeting. Here one can hear established relationships at work, relying on shared experiences to find new ways to surprise each other -- improvisational bliss. "Mtkvari River" represents the energy peak of the set; the trio goes a little too far here, losing track of grace in favor of something more childish and less rewarding (although Scheyder pulls off a riveting fast-paced performance). For the short encore, Newton steps away from the microphone to sing to the audience unmediated, while piano and drums contribute delicate nonintrusive touches for a moving, perfect finale.

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