Exotic twists abound on this latest CD from CalArts, which features compositions by 11 of its jazz students. Tenor saxophonist Nick Stahl is the iron man, appearing on seven of the tracks.
Pianist Will Kjeer’s “Dawn” features a jazz trio, vocalist Meltem Ege, and a string quartet that sets the mysterious mood. It begins like darkness edging toward the new day’s glimmer of first light, then turns uptempo after the rhythm section kicks in. Singer/guitarist Sü Özcan is featured in a sextet on her “Moonwater.” Pianist QianWen XiaHou leads another sextet on her syncopation-driven composition “Timeless.” It features guitarist Benjamin Thomas and trumpeter Sara Sithi-Amnuai before XiaHou’s clever stop-time interlude changes the tone.