"JAY HUNGERFORD PRESENTS THE KEYS TO THE CITY"
The debut recording by local jazz bassist, composer and teacher
Jay Hungerford is a multifaceted showcase of top St. Louis talent.
Using the intimate piano/bass format, Hungerford features 14
area pianists in duets covering the classic American repertoire of
Gershwin, Porter, Berlin and Joplin. Interspersed are three
original compositions, including two of Hungerford's: "Ode to
Pettiford" with Carolbeth True providing precisely crafted solos,
and "Why Ask Why," featuring Kim Portnoy's delicate but beguiling
By the very nature of their professionalism, each of these
pianists is capable of various styles. But here they focus on
interpretations as filtered through their individual voices.
For instance, when Reggie Thomas plays "Emily," his masterful
improvisational technique shines. The visceral, percussive style of
Ptah Williams adds new energy to the standard "Gone With The Wind."
Traditionalists Jean Kittrell, Herb Drury and Jimmy Williams keep
things squarely in the melodic mainstream, whether it's a
bop-flavored interpretation or Joplin rag. Russ David's
composition, "Opus One," is a stirring piece full of rapid
flourishes and varied tempos.
Other performances include a spry reharmonization of "Amazing
Grace" by Gary Fiorino, beautiful ballad work by Dave Venn on "The
Heather On The Hill," Pat Joyce's classically inspired rendition of
"Pick Yourself Up" and Jan Ammerman's sensitive reading of "I Got
It Bad And That Ain't Good."
Throughout the recording, of course, are Hungerford's precise
and subtle bass lines. On the reflective "Polka Dots and
Moonbeams," however, his rich playing is prominently featured. For
a grand survey of St. Louis jazz talent, this is the recording to
Michael J. Renner
From the Great Wall of Sound comes Dadawa, a Chinese pop star
who took a turn toward the mystical in the early '90s. On her
North American debut disc, she collaborates with composer-arranger
He Xuntian to shape a lively, dense, almost Spector-esque audio
Its diverse facets include Cantonese and Mandarin folk music
and droning Tibetan Buddhist chants, along with massive percussion
effects, Chinese woodwinds, synthesizers and her own marvelous,
free-ranging voice - one that calls to mind Icelandic pop singer
The international music press has been pointing up Dadawa's
musical resemblance to Celtic sound sculptress Enya. But Dadawa's
settings of ancient native sounds interwoven with contemporary
ones also recall the music of American recording artists such as
R. Carlos Nakai, Coyote Oldman and Robert Sunsinger, who offer
pop-accented treatments of American Indian themes.
Throughout, "Sister Drum" conveys mystery and - despite the
sheer musical mass of the mix - an enticing sense of intimacy. …