Jazz pianist Ramona Borthwick, a native of India whoÂ has lived in Canada for a long time, makes her recording debut as a leaderÂ with A New Leaf, a quintet date which focuses on her formidableÂ skills as a composer and arranger. Accompanied by guitarist Noel Borthwick,Â bassist Fernando Huergo, trumpeter Phil Grenadier, and drummer Ziv Ravitz,
Borthwick effortlessly blends influences from the music of many landsÂ throughout the sessions.
The lush opener is the easygoing, Latin-flavored ballad “A New Leaf,”Â featuring a fragile solo by Grenadier that is reminiscent of Tom Harrell,Â along with Borthwick’s lyrical piano. Noel Borthwick contributed the briskÂ but eerie “Dark Secrets of Three Blind Mice,” in which the guitaristÂ and trumpeter exchange licks over the pulsating rhythm section to build theÂ tension until it releases into a more conventional post-bop setting.Â Vocalist Esperanza Spalding (with the pianist singing the rhythm underneathÂ her lead) is added for the infectious, multicultural “Garbarero,”Â which blends elements of Argentinean and Indian rhythm in a powerfulÂ post-bop setting, as well as the lively samba “Lotus Lake.”
Ramona Borthwick has made a major statement with this superb initialÂ release.