The stalk of the town, landing in an appealingly theatrical Eartha Kitt-meets-Madeleine Peyroux field from out of the blue singer-pianist Sarah McCoy has somehow also drizzled in a certain swampily spooky updated Amy Winehouse slanted thing going on here. Delivered up ever so ominously check this intriguing promo for the Chilly Gonzales co-produced Blood Siren. Who on earth is Sarah McCoy I hear you mutter and should we care? Over to the inevitable press release for a bit of chat where we discover that McCoy used to play piano in a bar “in exchange for quesadillas”. Listening to a bit of ‘Boogieman’ is not at all as, yes, corny the comparison. Dismal January when it comes out, to be released when we get there by Blue Note, is not looking so bleak a prospect after all.
On his latest foray as a leader all folky, fairly laidback, packed with virtuoso flourishes pianist Shai Maestro with Jorge Roeder on bass and Ofri Nehemya on drums The Dream Thief has a lilting densely lush interest in original melody and of course if you know his work at all is beautifully played. However it has its flaws, take the ponderous treatment of ‘These Foolish Things’ right at the end where rhapsody has become the end goal, the interpretation a journey towards that aim it is clear from the start, the Maestro approach seems too ornate even if accidentally so and more a circling of the object rather than a penetrating engagement with the subtleties of the great standard. I much preferred his Untold Stories trio album released in 2015 on another label where the production methods and a different drummer seemed to suit him better if push were to come to shove and return to it for pleasure in preference. By contrast here I came away with the shrugging feeling of ah another typically tasteful ECM piano trio formula effort done and dusted. SG
Shai Maestro, above. Photo: Gabriel Baharlia/ECM.