Kerry Politzer

Yearning

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This exciting Brazilian piano recording would be remarkably notable if only because it introduces another great female writer/performer on a par with the great Eliane Elias. The real charm, however, comes from the fact that Kerry Politzer and her quintet get to the point very quickly, playing strong melodies speedily -- most of the tracks are in the three- to four-minute range -- with just enough improvisation and minimal repetition. In just over three minutes, the opening cut, "Twist of Samba," tells a tale of swinging mightily, giving Politzer a good minute for an intense and buoyant piano improvisation and ample opportunity for Eric Rasmussen to strut his stuff with a tight alto melody (as Politzer plays a swift harmony line behind him). The piano and acoustic guitar duet (with Pete Smith) "Tug of War" speeds along like a bumblebee in flight, also telling its whole story in a three-minute span that allows Smith to snap intensely in a solo acoustic guitar spotlight. "Revelation" is slightly less frenetic, another exciting samba with Politzer leading the melody. In other places, the ensemble is even more terse; the mid-tempo romance "A Wish" is less than two minutes long, and the closing solo piano track, "Piece for Charlie," is less than a minute. The listener will get so used to the quick pace of the tunes that the tender but nearly six-minute ballad "Yearning" will seem almost interminable and slow by comparison. But it offers a nice introspective balance.

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