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Jessica Lurie Ensemble: Megaphone Heart

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A member of the Tiptons Sax Quartet, Seattle-born, Brooklyn-based saxophonist-composer Jessica Lurie assembled an adventurous ensemble of guitarist-banjoist Brandon Seabrook, pianist Erik Deutsch, bassist Todd Sickafoose and drummer Allison Miller for her second genre-defying project as a leader. She handles vocals and flute on the eccentric Tom Waits-meets-Ian Anderson ditty “A Million Pieces All in One,” then switches to alto sax for some Sephardic-inspired improvisations on the stirring instrumental “Bells.” On the moody title track, marked by Lurie’s baritone sax and Seabrook’s grungy power chords, the leader wails passionately over the top on alto. Her melancholy waltz “Once” recalls the stark, Appalachian-flavored story songs of Seattle’s Robin Holcomb, and her “Same Moon,” which opens with some provocative group improv, contains Lurie’s most lyrical alto playing of the session. Elsewhere, she touches on Balkan music (the 11/8 instrumental “Boot Heels”), confessional Lou Reed-ish rock (“Maps”), klezmer (“Der Nister”) and chamber music (“Zasto,” featuring cellist Marika Hughes).

Originally Published