Kitty Brazelton

Chamber Music for the Inner Ear

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Vocalist/composer/educator Kitty Brazelton is a true musical renaissance woman. Armed with a doctorate in music arts, her legacy spans acid and jazz-rock genres, while she is also known for her gigs and involvement in New York City's notorious downtown scene. The artist pursues a deeply personalized form of chamber jazz, featuring a brass quintet that melds "little big band"-type charts with a contemporary classical touch. However, Brazelton also employs strings and woodwind sections while instituting various rhythmic structures into this divergent set. Complex yet surprisingly accessible, Brazelton's compositions are woven into interrelated fabrics of sound. Basically, the listener is treated to an earnest composer at work, as these pieces were obviously constructed for an audience and not solely for her own gratification. Bass, guitar, and bongos augment her airy, wordless vocals atop sonorous violin statements during the piece titled "R," while alto saxophonist Danny Weiss and cellist Dan Barrett go toe to toe during the striking duet piece entitled "Called Out Ol' Texas." Here, the duo renders contrasting tonalities along with a series of drone-like passages and intricately crafted unison lines, whereas the multi-part "Sonata for the Inner Ear" contains elements of Stravinsky and perhaps Aaron Copland in concert with Vicki Ray's lovely piano etudes and textural sampler work. Overall, this recording transcends many of the colorless or nondescript hybrid classical-jazz outings that many listeners have witnessed over the past few decades. Enthusiastically recommended.

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