By Ric Bang
Buy CD: Sixteen Sunsets
One doesn’t often win an audience with royalty in any field of the arts, but we consider ourselves blessed when it happens. Such is the case with this album by soprano saxophonist and composer Jane Ira Bloom. She’s the queen of that instrument; no one else come close to her mastery.
Merely listing her career’s many awards and accolades would fill several pages. She’s currently a professor at New York City’s New School of Jazz and Contemporary Music, and is a constant performer on the world’s stages as a soloist, and with both small and large musical ensembles. This release features her quartet, in which she’s supported by pianist Dominic Fallacaro, bassist Cameron Brown and drummer Matt Wilson.
The album title, Sixteen Sunsets, is based on a quote from U.S. astronaut Joseph Allen: “...and you see 16 sunrises and 16 sunsets every day, when you’re in space. No sunrise or sunset is ever the same.”
As for this album, you’ll never hear another musical performance like it.
This is Bloom’s 15th album as a leader, and her first all-ballad collection. The track list features American Songbook standards (among them “For All We Know,” “The Way You Look Tonight” and “My Ship”) and five original compositions.
Bloom gets a marvelously pure tone from her horn, which, along with her beautiful phrasing, makes every tune a mesmerizing event that you’ll not soon forget. Her compatriots are an equally important element in the performance, which you’ll want to hear again and again. At 77 minutes, the album also is generous. Finally, the superior audio quality — 5.1 high-resolution surround sound — is the icing on the cake.
All in all, this is an album that you must have!