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Pianist/Composer Kerry Politzer Releases Distinctive New CD "Watercolor"

SOURCE: Published: 2002-07-23
"Another great female writer/performer on a par with the great Eliane Elias" Jonathan Widran, All Music Guide

On Watercolor, her second album as a leader, pianist-composer Kerry Politzer puts her personal stamp on the standard jazz piano trio format. Her first album, Yearning (Consolidated Artists Productions), focused on her interest in Brazilian popular music. Cadence magazine called her “a spirited artist in touch with the land of samba." Listen.com said her “fiery piano playing inspires the band around her to play at high levels."

With her light, but firm touch at the keyboard, Politzer's notes dance with a distinctive, lively swing that is both gentle and bold. Her unique sound is further deepened by a very personal harmonic sense. Her chords are rich and sensual with an undercurrent of sadness that heightens their beauty. Each solo is an adventure in lyrical music making, with daring acrobatic lines tumbling into passages of calmness and contemplation. Unlike many pianists today, Politzer plays with great economy and poetic precision. A typical track clocks in at about five minutes, but she never sounds rushed or at a loss for ideas. Each tune is as long as it needs to be and makes a complete, beautifully unified statement.

These qualities are all evident on Watercolor. Working with her modern jazz trio featuring bassist Dan Fabricatore and drummer Scott McLemore, Politzer displays her melodic inventiveness and inviting harmonies shine on 11 originals and a standard that cover a wide range of idioms and moods. “Whim," a carefree melody with some sly Monkish angles, is taken at a comfortable groove and features Politzer at her most harmonically daring and rhythmically inventive. Even when she's fashioning sharp angular lines and dissonant chords, she maintains a musical thread that makes each idea sound inevitable and part of a beguiling whole. The haunting “Silent Morning" inspires a lovely solo of gossamer lyricism that is also shaped by Politzer's keen sense of composerly balance and continuity. Even when she's sprinting through an uptempo number like “Woodpecker," a hard bopper with Brazilian overtones, or “Sparks" her solos remain elegantly coherent and polished, with her resourceful left hand helping to create dramatic tension and release.

Bassist Fabricatore, who also plays and records with guitarists Sean Moran and Rudy Linka and is a member of the band twelve 20 six, is a supportive ensemble player who listens carefully and responds imaginatively. He sustains the nostalgic melancholy of “Foggy Day" with deft arco work and keeps a steady, infectious groove going on “Identity" and “Whim" while complementing Politzer's solos. As he proves on “Simmer," he's also a soloist who knows how to make each note of a solo count. Drummer McLemore, who has recorded with pianist Sunna Gunnlaugs and vocalist Howard Fishman and leads his own groups with saxophonist Tony Malaby, bassist Ben Street, and guitarist Ben Monder, is a perfect rhythm section partner for Fabricatore. McLemore is a relaxed timekeeper at any tempo, with a nice feel for the Latin tinge. He also interacts with soloists with an easy rapport. Just listen to his crisp snare and cymbal work on “Simmer" or “Sparks," to hear how well he supports and anticipates Politzer.

In addition to the trio heard on Watercolor, the versatile Politzer also leads a Brazilian jazz quartet and a quintet. As a composer, she has received third place honors in the 2000 Songwriters Association of America Competition and an honorable mention in the 2000 John Lennon Songwriting Competition.

Website: www.kerrypolitzer.com

CDs available at Amazon.com and CDNow.com

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