One of the preeminent soprano saxophonists in modern jazz, Jane Ira Bloom possesses more than just technique. Very few jazz artists are able to project a distinct or personalized sound. For example, most ardent jazz aficionados would be able to identify her in a Downbeat magazine style blindfold test. Once again, Bloom imparts memorable compositions, underscored with sinuous developments and a prevailing sense of intrigue.
Bloom’s equally prolific supporting cast featuring, bassist Mark Helias, drummer Bobby Previte and talented keyboardist Dawn Clement help impart the winning methodology on Wingwalker. Here, distinct styles unite for an agenda that surpasses the modern jazz median. The quartet renders a variety of detours, brisk unison flurries; a mélange of sublime themes and climactic opuses.
Bloom’s imaginative incorporation of live electronics complement her emotive treatments to the improvisational element. And the moving parts span flotation-like vistas, roving ballads and warmhearted dialogues. However, Bloom exercises a rite of passage via animated excursions, often designed with lyrically resplendent choruses that are contrasted by an evasive gait. She sustains interest by creating a suspenseful game-plan, nicely balanced by mesmerizing exchanges and edgy overtones. No doubt, her striking lyricism and harrowing live electronics permutations serve as a constant.
The piece titled “Frontiers in Science,” features Previte’s budding 4/4 pulse in line with Bloom’s exploratory phrasings. It’s a search and conquer mission that segues into a semi-standard modern jazz vibe. With “Rookie,” the saxophonist executes a soaring motif atop a jubilant swing vamp. Hence, it’s a multidimensional platform that reemphasizes Bloom’s significance in global jazz circles. Either lighter than air, or gushing forward with the thrust of a fighter jet, Wingwalker surges as a gleaming entry into the artist’s impressive discography.