Sunday, January 13, 2013

With Every Breath Lela & Joe Kaplowitz 2012

WITH EVERY BREATH cover art goes "global." Having reviewed music from all over the world that would be a tad misleading. Perhaps I could subtitle this review "How To Use Social Media." I have had some well documented issues with a small group of musicians that believe sites such as face book are for promoting their personal social agendas more so than there music. Social agendas are fine if you are Bono but it you are a jazz artist attempting to gain recognition in an overly crowded field the misuse of social media could be a career killer.

Enter Lela Kaplowitz who contacted my office to see if I would give With Every Breath a spin. The resulting email led me to a beautiful vocalist and one of the best big band/orchestras coming out of eastern Europe and this includes the WDR. The Croatian Radio-Television Jazz Orchestra maintains a European feel while allowing Lela & Joe Kaplowitz their opportunity to show off their prolific talents Pianist Joe Kaplowitz is as I like to say as technically proficient and artistically gifted as any pianist playing here in the west. Lela Kaplowitz has a remarkable tone, great timing and essentially gives a vocal; master class on this first rate recording.

Lela Kaplowitz adds a new layer of texture with organic compositions that at times resemble extended haiku poetry, a bit different at first but her work fits in nicely with some dynamic arrangement so the entire package is rounded off well. The syncopated pop of the into "Blues In Red Hook" kicks the release off clearly showing the Croatian Radio-Television Jazz Orchestra has as much fire power as any big band and is somewhat reminiscent of some Stan Kenton early big band work as they are not shy about pushing the envelope when necessary. The sweeping ballad "With Every Beat" is a stand out for Lela Kaplowitz along with a more harmonically open ended "Sand Storm" where what most people consider traditional big band in the west is magically transformed into a musical happy place between the dynamics of free jazz and the form and functionality of what one would normally expect.

One of the most enjoyable parts of this gig for me is looking at the jazz scene in Europe. Both Lela and Joe Kaplowitz are the real deal and a duo to be taken seriously. As a jazz journalist I often have to sift through hours of sand and silt to find a gold nuggett. Everything works here, the sound is certainly different than what one would consider traditional jazz orchestras but pushing the envelope is the only way to find your artistic voice.

Lela Kaplowitz is in fine voice and highly recommended! For more information check out

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