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Norma Winstone: Stories Yet to Tell

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Combining the intense quietude and acute storytelling skills that are her signatures, Norma Winstone’s latest, uniting her for a third time with clarinetist/saxophonist Klaus Gesing and pianist Glauco Venier, suggests a series of faded tableux vivants. Only one of the dozen selections, Dori Caymmi and Alan and Marilyn Bergman’s “Like a Lover,” unfurled like a rosebud kissed by morning sun, will be familiar. Of the remaining 11, nine feature original Winstone lyrics fitted to works by Gesing, Venier, Armando Manzanero, Maria Schneider, Wayne Shorter and 19th-century Armenian composer Komitas.

As pensively arresting as they are eclectic, they trace such wide-ranging themes as romantic disillusion (Manzanero’s “Just Sometimes”), release from earthy strictures (Schneider’s “Among the Clouds”) and the odd duality of an actor’s life (Gesing’s “The Titles”). Shorter’s “Goddess” is brilliantly imagined as both an ode to Diana, goddess of the hunt, and as elegy for another Diana, relentlessly hunted. Additionally, Winstone takes the Friulian folk song “Lipe Rosize,” as adapted by Venier and Stefano, on a soaring, wordless voyage and adds a hallowed amen, again wordlessly, with the 13th-century troubadour song “En mort d’En Joan de Cucanh.”

Originally Published