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Madeline Eastman: Can You Hear Me Now?

Madeline Eastman

Matt Wilson seems to have become the most in-demand timekeeper in jazz, and deservedly so. Wilson, ably assisted by bassist Rufus Reid and pianist Randy Porter, provides subtly superlative backing for San Franciscan vocalist Madeline Eastman as she follows a delightfully twisted path on her first live release. Eastman is never content to move straight ahead when turns both smooth and sharp, left and right, can lead to fresh vistas.

Her marvelously wandering ways are significantly heightened when she’s freed from the studio and provided a live audience to follow her circuitous route. Consider, for instance, the winding locomotive that is her “Show Me,” the pogo-stick bounce of her “Pent-Up House,” the hypnotic meander of her “Slow Boat to China,” the ramble of a “Gone With the Wind” that suggests an errant leaf fluttering through a series of cross-breezes, and the tiptoeing regret of her “Haunted Heart.” Indeed, she’s an inveterately unpredictable traveler who never fails to take us to magical places-and, fortunately, she’s got Wilson around to help stay her marvelously erratic course.

Originally Published