Yearning for Zion
This fringe outing by saxophonist-composer Jeff Lederer and fellow musical upstarts is both compelling and off-putting. Mary LaRose and Miles Griffith supply edgy vocals to Lederer originals based on “vision” songs of the Shakers, an 18th-century religious sect. While the music is freewheeling and first-rate—with guest turns by violinist Mark Feldman and drummer Matt Wilson—the prospect of Griffith screaming maniacally on “Even Shakers Get the Blues” or singing in tongues on “Laughing John’s Interrogatory” is disturbing. Intriguing but hard to recommend.