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Jane Ira Bloom: Wild Lines: Improvising Emily Dickinson (Outline)

Review of album by the imaginative saxophonist and an accompanying trio

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Cover of Jane Ira Bloom album Wild Lines
Cover of Jane Ira Bloom album Wild Lines

At the risk of courting gender stereotypes, there is a congruence between the way a ballerina moves and the music Jane Ira Bloom derives from her soprano saxophone on Wild Lines. To be able to blend refined grace and tensile strength into such an aesthetically pleasing flow requires both painstaking discipline and intuitive freedom. Bloom triumphs here on the straight horn because she is so doggedly enraptured, so coolly sublime.

“Flow” is hardly the first word one would associate with the poet Emily Dickinson, whose work inspired Wild Lines. But within Dickinson’s terse verse is refinement and tension in the service of intuitive observation; Bloom’s improvisation greases the mix. Four of the 14 originals appeared on Bloom’s 2016 album, Early Americans, in trio form, with her longtime cohorts Mark Helias on bass and Bobby Previte on drums. Another old friend, pianist Dawn Clement, is a crucial addition to Wild Lines. By turns dynamic and understated, she is a great foil for Bloom and superb seasoning in the rhythm section.

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