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Mal Waldron/Jeanne Lee/Toru Tenda: Travellin’ in Soul Time

Recorded in a series of concerts presented in August 1995 to mark the 50th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, these performances are rich in their simplicity, and profound in their evocation of tragedy. Too long underappreciated, Jeanne Lee reasserts her remarkable vocal gifts: a purity of sound, unerring pitch, and a broad palette of techniques that wring the emotions from lyric and note alike. The lyrics are built of shining images, drawn from traditional Japanese sources, with Lee contributing an evocative tanka, or extended haiku, and Waldron adding two affecting lyrics for his own adroit settings. Waldron’s playing sounds very much at home, in tune with its cultural environs, eschewing the showy in favor of clarity; he seems to emphasize the space and the moment in which each chord rings. Flutist Tenda brings a fine aura of wood to his western metal flute, adding luster to a truly beautiful sound.

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