Press Release, Whaling City Sound/Mixed Media Promo, May 2006
Sometimes jazz can be so virtuosic that it becomesÂ relentless unforgiving, and tiring. Thatâ€™s why a more delicate touch, aÂ womanâ€™s touch, can remind you how beautiful the idiom can be as well.Â Ramona Borthwickâ€™s debut as bandleader, A New Leaf, is just that kind ofÂ reminder.
Throughout these eleven compositions, all of which were either written orÂ co-written by Borthwick, the filigreed beauty of Ramonaâ€™s jazz piano andÂ lilting voice stands out. Despite shifting styles and a diversity of color,Â Borthwickâ€™s choices and techniques exhibit the immense tastefulness andÂ gorgeous restraint of a veteran bandleader. Which is why Borthwickâ€™s debut, genuine and self-assured, is one of the jazz communityâ€™s most intriguingÂ and exciting bows in recent memory.
Her bio begins this way: Born in Bombay, a bustling port city on the westÂ coast of India, Borthwick was introduced to music early in life by herÂ father, also a professional musician and composer. She began piano lessonsÂ at six, and pursued studies in classical music, earning performance degreesÂ through the Trinity College and Royals Schools of Music in London. In herÂ 20s she discovered jazz piano and vocal stylings. Excited and inspired byÂ the concept of improvisation, she began to explore jazz improvisational andÂ accompaniment skills. ‘Sound Matters’ (1991), her first recording released in India and was hailed by critics as the first indigenousÂ recording of mainstream contemporary jazz in India.
Since then, Borthwick, now a Boston resident, has seen her artistry matureÂ and grow in dimension and sophistication. Her piano flows in dazzlingÂ flourishes of clichÃ©-free styles, especially on tunes like the progressiveÂ â€œGabareroâ€ and the dynamic burner â€œDark Secrets of Three Blind Mice,â€ aÂ composition written with her husband Noel Borthwick. Her band on theÂ album â€” bassist Fernando Huergo, drummer, Ziv Ravitz, trumpeterÂ PhilÂ Grenadier, and guitarist Noel Borthwickâ€”share that same tactileÂ sensibility. They can swing when Ramona takes them there, ease up with sexyÂ romance, or find darker places to dwell as on the variegated â€œLifelines.â€
In fact, Borthwick has rendered A New Leaf as a multi-faceted, many-tentacledÂ set, an exhilarating, pastel-hued effort that finds the artist dipping intoÂ a variety of idioms in search of interesting tone, mood, and feeling, andÂ coming up with a stunning array of fantastic results. Borthwickâ€™s WhalingÂ City Sound debut serves as an early high water mark in the pianistâ€™sÂ career, one rich in melody, impressive in terms of talent, and expressiveÂ in a way similar to great poetry or richly rendered art, all led by theÂ strong personal touch of the exquisitely capable Borthwick.
For Immediate Release
Contact:Â Ginny Shea,Â Mixed Media