JESSICA LURIE ENSEMBLE
Jessica Lurie - alto, tenor, baritone saxophones, flute, voice, megaphones
Brandon Seabrook - guitar, banjo, tape recorder
Erik Deutsch - piano, electric piano, organ
Todd Sickafoose - acoustic bass
Allison Miller - drums, percussion
Special guest: Marika Hughes – cello
JESSICA LURIE MEGAPHONE HEART
Produced by Todd Sickafoose & Jessica Lurie
Music composed and arranged by Jessica Lurie
Lyrics by Jessica Lurie
1 Steady Drum (:58)
2. A Million Pieces All In One (4:59)
3. Bells (6:17)
4. Megaphone Heart (7:03)
5. Same Moon (6:40)
6. Maps (7:00)
7. Der Nister (7:22)
8. Zasto (6:01)
9. Boot Heels (6:45)
10. Once (4:56)
Total time: 57:42
• May 2012 Downbeat Magazine 4 ½ Stars!:
Multi-instrumentalist Jessica Lurie and her ensemble have put togetherone hell of a program. Sure enough, it turns out it is chock full of stories Lurie’s piercing flute and catchy vocals contrast with guitarist Brandon Seabrook’s snappy banjo playing, the band driven from behind by drummer Allison Miller’s tasteful clobbering —John Ephland
“Jessica Lurie is considered one of the most exciting interpreters of music today, pushing stylistic barriers not simply to ramble from one genre to another, but to construct new musical landscapes, to daydream with an extreme sense of purpose.” (Giuseppe Segala, All About Jazz Italy)
"Playing saxophone and accordion as well as vocalizing, Jessica Lurie wears many hats in this adventurous but melodic group." Nate Chinen, New York Times
With MEGAPHONE HEART, her newest recording, composer and multi-instrumentalist JESSICA LURIE and her Ensemble are poised between creative jazz, rock, folk and avant-garde music, generating a luscious and compelling sea of sound. An adventurous musical spirit shines through ten original compositions, with Lurie’s unmistakable big sound on tenor and alto saxes, flute, and her distinctive voice. Inspired by life in Brooklyn, traveling the world, and her love of American and international melodies and rhythms, this is her strongest collection of songs yet.
With skill and discipline borne from her-life long dedication to music composition and improvisation, Lurie creates a pulsing, brimming, expansive sound. Joined by an ensemble of stellar musicians, she barrels across uncharted territories where jazz, folk, chaos and beauty all come out to play.
MEGAPHONE HEART is Lurie’s second CD co-produced by bassist Todd Sickafoose.
Says Lurie: ‘” I love how Todd hears and produces music, and adds layers to sonically sculpt the body of the songs, bringing out the textures, smell and soul of the music. Every musician in the group brought their own quirky, strange and beautiful sound nuggets and masterful playing to each piece, really giving a “band” feeling and depth to the music that is an evolution from my last CD, Shop of Wild Dreams.”
About the compositions on MEGAPHONE HEART:
• BELLS, based on a photograph of my mother’s garden in bloom, moves from free group improvisation into a Sephardic-inspired groove and punkish rumble.
• MEGAPHONE HEART is a kind of love song about how I choose to live day by day, and a vehicle to explore feelings about losing five friends to cancer in the past year. I like the twisted, crunchy sounds of megaphones, trying to communicate and connect if only in a clumsy, loud, somewhat distorted fashion, right on the edge of feedback - the way the heart feels sometimes.
• MAPS: Fighting and lost with your lover, lost in a city you never want to see again, this is a song about emotional drifting and letting go until you rediscover your balance and sense of self and direction. My personal method: throw out the stacks of maps, disconnect the GPS and drive blind, listening.
• BOOT HEELS: A dirge Balkan-inspired rock piece in 11/8, and a bow to Macedonian saxophone and clarinet genius Ferus Mustafov.
• ONCE: A song/story based on third-person impressions of the 2008 flood that overtook Cedar Rapids, Iowa, covering 10 square miles of city, and woven with nostalgic memories of 20 foot corn my parents grew in our Seattle backyard when I was five years old, to block out the neighbors.
• ZASTO (Why): “Zasto sam uvijek tebe gladna? Why am I always hungry for you?"
• STEADY DRUM & A MILLION PIECES ALL IN ONE: A Peruvian-inspired banjo riff sets the backbeat to the song. The opening lyric is from the Southern visual artist Howard Finster’s poem that from the poem he dedicated to his "Paradise Garden" in South Carolina. Finster saw himself as "God's junk man," salvaging the detritus people throw away around him to remake into art. Inspired by his poetry, I changed and expanded the lyrics into a story about scattering apart and re-gathering into a new form of person.
• DER NISTER (The Hidden One): For Yiddish author Pinchus Khanovich.
• SAME MOON: Born in Brooklyn and finished on an out-of-tune piano during a steamy August in Zagreb missing my best friend.
The Jessica Lurie Ensemble has performed at festivals worldwide including: NYC Winter Jazz Fest Kickoff 2012, Jamcruise ’12, Vienna Klezmore Festival 2010-11, SXSW, Pisa Instabile, Motovun Film Fest., Babel Arts, Earwing No Jazz, JVC Jazz Festival, CMJ, High Sierra Music Festival, Canadian Music Festival, Bumbershoot International Music Festival, Earshot Jazz, Jazzmiele , etc.
International artists with whom Jessica has performed and /or recorded include David Krakauer, Basya Schechter, Bill Frisell, Chuck D and The Fine Arts Militia, The Indigo Girls, Mark Ribot, Karl Denson, Frank London, Vinicio Caposella, Otto Lechner, Nels Cline, Tony Hall, Kenny Wolleson, New Master Sounds, Bernie Worrell and Ivan Neville, and co-created numerous multi-media works inter-nationally with visual artist Danijel Zezelj , Great Small Works and Circus Amok. In addition to freelancing and working with her own Ensemble, Jessica performs and composes for the Tiptons Saxophone Quartet, Living Daylights trio, Ayn Sof Bigger Band, The Romeo Studs and La Buya.
• "... cinematic jazz and gypsy inflection... impressive.” Kurt Gottschalk. All About Jazz NYC
• “…The ensemble shifts among funk, jazz, folk and ethnic melodies reminiscent of Klezmer-jazz and Balkan-jazz hybrids by artists like Steve Bernstein (and) the winding, angular grooves of Tim Berne." JAZZIZ
• “... her melodies and saxophone solos unfurl in skirling arcs, wending within the ensemble sound rather than floating atop it, like a silk ribbon being pulled along the bed of a quickly moving stream. “ Phil Freeman, JAZZIZ
• "While she is not afraid to get her hair in a tangle, this bandleader puts the accent on melody and the remote-control imperative that drives the tapping of your helpless toe.” Greg Burk, LA Weekly