"Greater than the sum of its parts."
While a tad chiche when a group much less an incredibly artistic quintet checks their egos at the door and instead fuses their own individual artistic voices into one then something special happens.
Sarah Elizabeth Charles is the actual voice of this most inventive ensemble but as the release unfolds so does the sonic layers that contain the voices of each member. Caleb Curtis, Logan Evan Thomas, PJ Roberts and Josh Davis combine their formidable talents into one vision, one voice and the end result is as refreshing as a summer rain. The burden of label imposed genre is easily sidestepped for an intoxicating organic infusion of influences. A sonic carnival. A joy ride of sound and musical enlightenment. It would be fairly easy if not obvious to say there is not another act on the scene today that could match sonic wits with this group on equal footing.
A light and airy opening written by Tomas and Charles kicks off this most contemporary look at eclectic vocal jazz, a harmonious union of the commercial yet esoteric. A pure delight. Curtis is an up and coming major force to be reckoned with in the saxophone world. Charles is blessed with a smooth as silk voice with a honey infused finish that simply leaves the listener longing for more. Thomas, Roberts and Davis round out a first call top notch rhythm section that acts as the sonic glue to bind this most impressive ensemble together. The second tune "Open You Eyes, You Can Fly" borders on breathtaking while Charles pristine vocals take your mind on a sonic journey of soulful richness. There is a tremendous amount of diversity here from not only each member but the compositions they seem to reinvent if not originals such as the Corea and the Michael Jackson tune "Earth Song." A deceptively subtle breezy swing to the Jackson tune gives a syncopated groove and a killing pop to a tune whose ability to transfer with jazz sensibilities may be normally questioned makes this transition with minimal effort. The tunes here from originals to Chick Corea to Michael Jackson bear witness to an open artistic soul brought forth by 5 individuals that are indeed singing from the same page of the hymnal.
Original, inventive yet somehow with one tiny toe placed in the past to honor the roots of their music this release is a sonic breath of fresh air. An effortless ebb and flow. Lyrically moving with a sense of purpose yet harmonically adventurous but never self indulgent.
A tad cliche again but the future of modern jazz.
5 Huge Stars!
Tracks: Passing Time; Open Your Eyes, You Can Fly; Earth Song; Abundance; Hope (Intro); Hope (feat W.E.S); Flying; Corcovado; One Snap Decision; Theodore; Longing For; X Marks The Spot; The Way It Was.
Includes Bonus DVD - Manner Effect In Motion
Personnel: Logan Evan Thomas: piano, fender rhodes, keyboard; Caleb Curtis: alto, tenor, soprano saxophones & flute; Sarah Elizabeth Charles: voice; PJ Roberts: upright & electric basses & guitars; Josh Davis: drums, percussion.