Thursday, November 21, 2013

Ana Mai Blossom Neuklang 2013

A vocal chameleon creating colors by inflection alone...breathtaking!
Brent Black /
How does one review a vocalist when you do not speak the same language? Ana Mai makes this a walk in the park with Blossom. A release built around her pristine vocals, percussive inflection and the ability to manipulate pitch to create deceptively subtle nuances of timbre and counterpoint with a collective sextet as well rounded as any here in the United States.
To be fair, Ana Mai makes the transition from German to English literally indistinguishable thanks to the amazing gifts mentioned above. For American audiences to appreciate these stunning qualities simply think eastern Europe's answer to Gretchen Parlato. Blossom is an aptly titled debut release showcasing not just a vocalist but an indie jazz collective and their unbelievable ability to capture the imagination with tales of love lost and letting go.
An open, intimate and highly organic collection of soundscapes are reinforced with smoldering grooves and a sensual side that even the great Parlato has yet to share with an audience. Another key to success here and there are many would be the free reign given to the band to explore their own voices and thus adding to an incredible lyrical tapestry meticulously put together by Ana Mai.
Anna Maria Schuller is that rare legitimate jazz triple threat as singer, lyricist and composer and has literally struck gold / platinum with her first time up to the plate. By far the finest vocalist I have reviewed in 2013 and perhaps the most artistically gifted vocalist of our time.
While the release is not listed for a U.S. availability till 12/27,  given the fast approaching Christmas season this is the time to strike while the iron is hot. European street dates are normally several weeks ahead of the U.S. and thanks to my loyal following in Europe this release is one to calendar.

Tracks: Neuland; The Aspiration Of A Stone; Dream Variations; Ich hab die Nacht getraumt; Grey Men (Time No 1); Tired Of Standstill; What Is Time (Time No 2); Mother Wind; Children Song (Time No 3); Rest Your Mind.

Personnel: Anna Maria Schuller: Vocals, Compositions; Stefan Karl Schmid: Saxophone, Clarinet; Philipp Braemswig: Guitar; Matthias Akeo Nowak: Double Bass; Oliver Rehmann: Drums.