Olivia Trummer Fly Now Contemplate Music ****
Stuttgart-born German singer/pianist Olivia Trummer now living in Berlin makes a dramatic breakthrough with Fly Now, easily her starriest record to date, but not only a winner because of the empathetic company she is keeping. The lyrics, just one good reason, are outstanding.
Recorded in New York and in Berlin last year, essentially a trio with James Farm bassist Matt Penman and Monty Alexander drummer Obed Calvaire, but also with stellar guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel (a player whose fanclub includes one Eric Clapton) augmenting the core sound sometimes flavoured by Trummer’s use of Rhodes electric piano. He’s on ‘Sharing My Heart’, ‘All is Well’, and the second part of the title track, ‘Fly Now – Reflection.’
Trummer has written the words and music of all the songs, some knottily introspective, ‘Snow Colored Streets’ a little in the Emilia Mårtensson vein, others unselfconsciously emotional, navigating her way into a jazzier space on a track such as ‘Gotta Miss Someone’. It’s striking how much in common in terms of timbre, tone and musical direction she shares with the exciting new wave of experimental singers such as Mårtensson and relative veteran Gretchen Parlato. There’s a quietly haunting quality to the title track, and when Trummer manages to harness quiet sounds and textures to her advantage the album is at its best.
Fly Now is released on 17 November. The Olivia Trummer trio open for Charles Lloyd at the National Concert Hall, Dublin, on 18 November, and Trummer plays the London Jazz Festival at the Pizza Express Jazz Club, London, on 20 November