Abby & Norm Group

Melodic Miner's Daughter

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Five years after their debut album on their own A to Z label, Abby Aronson Zocher and Norm Zocher are back again, still leading a quartet that includes drummer Brooke Sofferman and pianist Bevan Manson. However, on Melodic Miner's Daughter the group is augmented on four tracks by saxophonist George Garzone, and whereas on Book of Norman Abby stuck to bass and Norm to guitar, on this one they trade off on both instruments throughout the album. Both are excellent guitarists with very different voices: Abby's sweetly lyrical side is showcased on the first movement of their "Canadian Suite," a gorgeous piece in which her classical guitar plays a gentle, pastoral melody with a softly swinging jazz accompaniment; on the second movement, "CBC at Night," Norm takes over on guitar and plays a more abstract and harmonically challenging part. That kind of interplay and exchange continues throughout the album, which consists mainly of original compositions but also includes a fine rendition of "My Funny Valentine," which Abby sings winningly. Like their first album, Melodic Miner's Daughter is a warm and inviting expression of a highly sophisticated jazz conception -- and musicians who can balance those two elements this well are rare indeed. Here's hoping we don't have to wait another five years for the next one.

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