By MARSHALL ZUCKER, Jazz Improv Magazine, 2006 Summer Issue, Volume 6, #4
Although there are numerous influences on RamonaÂ Borthwickâ€™s music, the way she uses the many influences makes her music soÂ much her own. The quintet (with an additional vocalist on two tracks) worksÂ as a unit throughout. We can only hear Ravitz featured on the final trackÂ and bassist Huergo only a bit more. All compositions were written byÂ Borthwick, although track 3â€™s co-composer was Noel Borthwick and track 6Â was Borthwickâ€™s own composition.
The CDâ€™s opener, its title track, takes us into a musical journey of suchÂ extreme depth, a feeling of such deep serenity and yearning, as well asÂ great hope and subdued optimism that I would have been hoping to follow aÂ similar journey as we travel throughout the CD. Trumpeter Grenadierâ€™sÂ beautiful sound is maintained throughout the solo. Borthwick seems to haveÂ listened to Bill Evans, but expresses herself very originally. The tenÂ tracks that follow all go off in different directions. â€œGarbareroâ€Â begins with a wordless vocal. It is influenced by an Indian folk style, andÂ is in 6/8. The other vocalist sings another line while the first stillÂ sings. Bassist Huergo is the element that keeps everything going. Once theÂ solos begin- first trumpet, then guitar â€“ there are alternating sections ofÂ straight-ahead swing and 6/8 time. There is a nice vocal/trumpet climax atÂ the end. â€œTwoâ€™s Complementâ€ also features changing rhythmic andÂ harmonic directions. â€œHomeâ€ is the most extended of the pieces. TheÂ piano introduction demonstrates the Evanâ€™s influence.
â€œLatin Quarterâ€ has another wordless vocal, and there is terrificÂ movement in meter from 4 to 6. â€œDark Secrets Of Three Blind Miceâ€ isÂ straight-ahead with terrific entrances by each soloist. â€œBaarah Surâ€Â is another straight-ahead swinger. The varying rhythms and ascendingÂ harmonies are the most interesting features of this piece. â€œLifelinesâ€Â is a jazz waltz, and â€œLotus Lakeâ€ a lovely Brazilian influencedÂ piece. There is a lovely vocal, and the guitar solo is the high point. The
last two pieces are of extreme differences. â€œIndian Summerâ€ is aÂ lovely ballad of increasing depth, involvement and density, and a change inÂ direction back to simplicity. The closingâ€œOttawa Thawâ€ features aÂ lovely voice and trumpet duet having warmth, strength and lovely harmonies.Â There is great support from the pianist. It is an up piece, optimistic andÂ as mentioned, drummer Ravitzâ€™ moment to shine.
The title piece is the one that I believe is the vital center of the CDÂ from which many major and minor routes are traveled. These are musiciansÂ who deserve to be heard, and who will deserve to be heard as they create