Ken Leighton 5 p.m., Jan. 24
Diane Moser WDMO
- "Diane Moser: WDMO just out on Planet Arts" (July 13, 2012)
"It took a long time to bring this record into being," Moser said via e-mail from her home in Montclair, N.J.
"But now when I look back on it, everything happened for this record exactly how it was supposed to happen."
Mostly recorded during two sessions in 2002, and one in 2007 at Peter Sprague's studio, the disc features a core trio of Moser, bassist Rob Thorsen, and drummer Duncan Moore with significant contributions on select tracks by Sprague, percussionist Will Parsons, and vocalists Marguerita Page and Mary Redhouse. Also on board is Chad Moser, (her son), who produced and re-mixed the cut "One Love."
The Brazilian-flavored "It's You," opens the disc, featuring a stellar guitar solo by Sprague and a coy, sensuous delivery of the lyrics by Page.
Things take a sharp left turn for "Rhythms," a powerhouse feature with dramatic unisons and amazing solos by both Thorsen and Moore, even by the high standards these cats have set.
"I purposely left a lot of space for them to stretch," said Moser. "I know what they can do and I wanted them to feel free to express themselves. We did that in one take."
The medley of "Monk's Mood/Monk's Dream," has an effortless flow --despite big differences in tempo and form-- "Monk"s Mood" doesn't feature solos but is propelled by Thorsen's dark and gorgeous arco. Moser understands the composer's idiosyncrasies well, and interprets the jarring harmonies and broken rhythms of "Monk's Dream" with respect to the icon, while maintaining her own identity. She even slips a quote from "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town," in there.
What Moser does with the warhorse "Summertime," is truly special. Changing the meter to 3/4 with a feel of 9/8 effectively doubles the form and elicits a languid, slippery atmosphere.
Page recites the Moser poem "One Love," which the younger Moser, sliced, diced and added a strangely appropriate hip-hop vibe to.
On "For My Father/Deep River/My Buddy," vocalist Redhouse plays a central, eerie role as her voice evokes the sounds of theremin, synthesizers or virtuosic flute, among other things. All of this works because of the deep, luxuriant support of Moser's piano.
The magnum opus of this session, is "One For Mal," a dedication to the late, great, Mal Waldron. Juxtaposing the Westminster chimes against a squiggly theme of crashing chords and repetitions over contractions and expansions of the time, Moser's solo cycles waves of dissonance with passages of muscled swing. The trio breathes together and Thorsen unleashes a wicked statement that starts off in a glorious out mode and never lets up, Moore answers with patient gestures that build to a gale-force of drum explosions.
In marked contrast, the pianist's "For My Mother," begins with the delicate sounds of loss and remembrance, but, as it evolves, a sense of smiling through the tears emerges. These subtle shifts in mood are all due to Moser's remarkable sense of touch on the instrument, which she makes sing throughout this recording.
This album is a joyous affair that straddles wide arcs of style, while hewing close to a singular aesthetic.