Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Rebecca Kilgore: Moonshadow Dance

JazzTimes may earn a small commission if you buy something using one of the retail links in our articles. JazzTimes does not accept money for any editorial recommendations. Read more about our policy here. Thanks for supporting JazzTimes.

Like Rebecca Kilgore, Ellen Vanderslice is a pillar of the Portland jazz community. Though an architect by trade, Vanderslice is also an accomplished (and remarkably prolific) composer, occasional singer and leader of a local quartet. The Cherry Pie Music label was created to showcase her output, including a series of three EPs built around her songs as performed by Kilgore and fellow vocalists Marilyn Keller and Amandah Jantzen. In 2014, Kilgore and Vanderslice united with another Oregonian, songwriter, vibraphonist and pianist Mike Horsfall, to launch the Moonshadow Project, with each contributing melodies, harmonies and lyrics. Months later, the collaboration resulted in the Christmas EP It’s Getting to Be That Time of Year. Now, with Moonshadow Dance, the project reaches full fruition.

A small battalion of players from the Pacific Northwest weave in and out of these 16 tracks, anchored by pianist Randy Porter, bassist Tom Wakeling and drummer Todd Strait. Horsfall plays vibes on half the selections. The album swerves from romantic to heartbreaking to playful; the wordplay is consistently thoughtful and clever, with hints of Fran Landesman, Lorraine Feather and Kilgore’s great pal, Dave Frishberg. Particularly delightful are Horsfall’s wry “I Live in a Condo,” the swinging rumba of Kilgore’s vibrant “Birthday Song, Generic,” Vanderslice’s sweetly amorous “I’m Not Susceptible to You” and the sensuous “Cantando o Amor,” presented twice by Kilgore-first rather breezily with an octet, then, far more tenderly, alone with Brazilian guitarist Marco de Carvalho.

Originally Published