This live double CD just might be the ultimate Epiphany Project Recording!
The spontaneous interplay between the three musicians (John Hodian, Bet Williams and Mal Stein) is really magical and they pushed the songs in new directions night after night. John continues his adventurous explorations on the piano and Bet’s voice has never sounded better. But the real hero of this record is Mal Stein! It’s a thrill hearing Mal’s thunderous drums and percussion mic-ed up close as he follows John and Bet through every detail of their playing.
Recorded in listening clubs, old stone churches and concert halls all over Germany, the new CD captures the high energy trio in perfect form as they reinvent songs from their catalogue or spontaneously compose brand new pieces in front of a captive audience. The CD opens with an achingly beautiful lone piano improvisation followed by a haunting vocal melisma that seems at once ancient and modern. With a sudden piano glissando the piece erupts into “Ararat”, a spirited song about the mountain of the same name. Ararat was originally recorded on their “Hin Dagh” CD while the band was living in Armenia, but the new live version tops the previous version with an earthy more more spirited tone.
Improvisation continues throughout the CD as the listener is invited into a unique 3 way conversation between voice, piano and percussion. The music crosses the boundaries between World, Folk, Classical and Jazz, falling into the “uncategorizable, but transcendentally beautiful” category that the Washington Post awarded a few years ago.
With her charismatic stage prescence and high octane delivery, vocalist, Bet Williams, is most comfortable singing with an audience present. “The crowd doesn’t always realize how much they effect the direction the music takes on any given night. For these shows the audiences were wide open. I feel very in tune with John and Mal. They’re fantastic musicians and are totally committed to reinventing the music every night.”