On the opening "Rose Window," the mysterious, angelic voices of violins appear to call to the seeking, entreating human voice of Aina Kemanis. Alex Cline, who has Charlie Haden, Charles Lloyd, and John Carter on his resumé, plays percussion and kantele (Finnish board zither) on this album. On the impressionistic "Pieces of a Mirror," we hear his free jazz techniques successfully creating the sonic image of shattering glass. After the title track and two more pieces, Kemanis closes the album with "Sonnet 9," Rainer Maria Rilke's vivid poem on the eternal theme that the knowledge of death gives purpose to life. Sparks Fly Upward is a collection of jazz-tone poems rich in fatalistic imagery and sophisticated sounds led by Cline and bassist Mike Elizondo.
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AllMusic Review by Tom Schulte