It began with a chance meeting, onboard a New York-bound train, between Luciana Souza and Peter Eldridge. They began to ruminate about various friends who shared their enthusiasm, and prowess, for vocal experimentation. A sort of jazz vocal summit. Theo Bleckmann’s name came up, then Kate McGarry’s, then Eldridge’s longtime New York Voices compatriot Laurie Kinhan. Bringing the five together, the goal was, says Souza, “to write, study, rehearse and blend our different styles of singing, creating a collective sound.”
A 2005 gig at Joe’s Pub and a subsequent performance in L.A. led to this project. As Moss (a curious name whose roots remain mysterious), they set out, says Souza, to shape an album “that reveals as much about who we are as people as it does who we are as singers. Hopefully, each song reveals the curiosity and uniqueness of each voice, and the wonderful and intangible thing that happens when a group of friends blend their voices and sensibilities into one.” She need not worry.
All-star collaborations can be tricky, and often disastrous, endeavors, plagued by ego clashes and cross-purposes. Not this one. What emerges is a series of soft-hewed hymns, drawing on the poetry of Joni Mitchell, Tom Waits, Neil Young, e.e. cummings and all five of the participants, that are at once soul-stirring, majestic, comforting, inquisitive, hypnotic and wise. Indeed, as Souza suggests, their beauty is ultimately intangible.