CIMP: Creative Improvised Music Projects
The Rain In Spain
Catalog Number: CIMP 341
I first heard Sophie Dunér (pronounced Do-near) (b.1969, Gothenburg, Sweden) in the Spring of 1996 when she sent me some demo material. I was impressed by her form-filling yet ethereal vocal integration within a Jazz combo and also by her original compositions, which she mixed with standards and lesser known other works.I'm not sure what happened at this point, but I didn't hear any more from Sophie until the Fall of 2004 when I received another demo accompanied by PR material that hailed her as "an exciting Swedish crossover singer and songwriter." Indeed, there was now more emphasis on what might broadlybe called cabaret. But good music is good music and this was still good music. I was also quite surprised that, as far as I could tell, in all those years she still did not have her own commercially available CD release. (When I queried her about this fact, she admitted that she also wondered why that was. Though, it should be noted that Sophie also has a parallel credible career as a fine artist.)
Over the Winter of ‘04/'05, we worked out areas of common interest and eventually the group make-up. Sophie then flew into New York a couple of weeks before this recording to do a gig and beginrehearsals.
Rory Stuart (b.1956, NYC, NY) was my suggestion as we had used Rory on two previous vocal dates and I had confidence in both his Jazz instincts and absolute technical ability as well as skills as a musical director and arranger.
Matt Penman (b.1974, Palmerston North, New Zealand) I knewmainly from his debut Fresh Sound New Talent record.
Kahlil Kwame Bell (b.1968, NYC, NY) has been active on the scene since the early ‘90s, working with a broad range of people such as Frank Foster and Abraham Burton to Abbey Lincoln and Norah Jones on what might be called a panmusical experience.
We got underway after a lengthy sound check. Throughout the check it was evident that this group was very together and very prepared.
Sophie opened with Two Time Losers, a piece with all the strengths and hallmarks of her style: relaxed lilting vocals offset by edgy lyrics and pointed delivery. It's clear this is a singer/songwriter of some individuality. Any doubts that the music will not lend itself to expansiveness are eased by Rory's challenging solo, the first of many throughout the two days.
The first three compositions addressed (Two Time Losers, Midsummernights Dream, and Marionettes) were all originals. Then came Caravan. Dig how the rhythm trio moves into overdrive and takes the piece into some very hip territory.
Throughout the night I was continually impressed by Kahlil's economy of movement but remarkably effective percussion. Kahlil, a large man, arrived with no more than what amounted to a midsized salesman's carrying case from which he produced what appeared to be the usual collection of small sound instruments. He sat, almost unnoticed, in the back of the group sending out all manner of perfectly placed and non-fatiguing percussion. Visually he seemed to bedoing very little, making everything look easy; not so much an illusion as an exercising of talent.
The first set lasted almost two hours, ending on a good take of Jack the Ripper. After a short break, we regrouped and opened with another good take of Jack the Ripper (issued here). The same ease andconfidence that was apparent from the beginning of the session was still in evidence. From Jack, Sophie went immediately into a riveting Lush Life, giving this evocative standard yet another personal and modified reading, highlighted by some very fine shadowing from Matt. The two later went duo onAt Last, during which, after almost four hours of recording, fatigue began to show and we called it a night, but successfully returned to the tune the following day.
The next day Sophie opened with and nailed Rain In Spain, a piece that had been imperfect in a couple of the previous night's takes.At Last, Up Again, and Paris Blues followed and we ended with Lonely Woman.
Sophie Duner is both a personal and original singer and a composer of substance. Her talents are well in evidence on this recording and your appreciation of them will grow with each subsequent listen. Experiencing themaswell as the excellence and professionalism of the whole groupover two days was an invigorating and inspiring pleasure, one that I hope comes across to the listener.
Robert D. Rusch Sept. 9, 2005
Artists on This Album
Sophie Duner (Vocals)
Rory Stuart (Guitar, Voice)
Matt Penman (Bass)
Kahlil Kwame Bell (Bongos, Chimes,Udu
The Rain In Spain
The Multiple Useful
Two Time Losers
Jack The Ripper
Mack The Knife
A Midsummernights Dream
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