A duo in the best possible sense of the word, Shank and Stowell are magnificent!
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
First things first...this does not street till April 8, 2014. In the day of the digital download and with pre-orders available at every turn, some things are simply too good to wait on. A two decade association between premier vocalist Kendra Shank and guitar virtuoso John Stowell winds up as an intimate harmonic exploratory between the pair that raises the bar of the duo format to the next level. A duo is a tough format as inevitably one artist will invariably assume a more lead role with their partner filling in as more of an afterthought. What makes New York Conversations special aside from an eclectic and at times oddly ethereal song selection would have to be the ability to indeed transport a Big Apple kiss onto a deceptively subtle release of amazing depth.
Standard are of course a given here but not in the most traditional sense. Kendra pulls every trick from her lyrical bag of magic to add textured shades of a vocalese that time forgot. An accomplished and highly respected lyricist, Kendra Shank adds her lyrical gifts to the harmonic mosaic that is the John Stowell origina, "Throop." Standards including "Blue Skies" and "My Romance" have the dust blown off and are given a more contemporary make over while maintaining every ounce of their original melodic integrity. From folk roots to reinvented standards, New York Conversations cuts a wide sonic path and a melodic road that few contemporaries would dare travel.
This is as organic and basil as it is refined and sophisticated. A cerebral riff. A mosaic of intimacy with threads of emotive depth few can match. In a word...beautiful.
Tracks: Blue Shies; Throop; Hard Travelin'/Motherless Child; New York Conversations; Ghost; Silent Photographer; My Romance; Za-Zoh; Songs & Lullabies; Like Someone In Love; Simple Pleasures; Walktalk; I'll Be Seeing You; Glad Mango.
Personnel: John Stowell: Guitars; Kendra Shank: Voice, Electronic Looper & Effects, Shaker.
Special Thanks to Michael Bloom of Michael Bloom Media Relations.