Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Pianist Catherine Marie Charlton fuses contemporary jazz on new release Maiden's Voyage

The tenth album release in Catherine Marie Charlton's twenty-plus year recording career, Maiden's Voyage arcs gracefully through orchestrations and styles ranging from contemporary jazz to Charlton's spacious meditations.  The common motif is the pianist/composer's identifiable sound-passion, strength, and power, flowing interchangeably with tender expressiveness.

Mastered by Grammy® winning engineer/producer Phil Nicolo (Spanish Harlem Orchestra, Bob Dylan, Lauryn Hill), Maiden's Voyage represents a decade-long collaboration between producer Charlton and recording/mixing engineer Eric Troyer (ELO Part II/The Orchestra), who brings his sensibilities and significant musicianship to the project. Guest musicians on the album include: Elliott Levin (Cecil Taylor, Marshall Allen) on flute and tenor saxophone on "Birds Flower" & "The Lonely Cobbler", Jeff Oster (three-time winner "Album of the Year" Zone Music Reporter/ZMR) on three tracks including the piano/flugelhorn duet "Sepia Moon", Steve Meashey on bass, and drummer and percussionist J. Jody Janetta.  Barry Green, Cincinnati Symphony principal bassist for 28 years, also contributes on "Which You Which World." 

Of her partnership with Janetta, Charlton recalls - "Fifteen years ago I was a solo classical pianist beginning to explore improvisation. Jody heard something in my playing akin to the classically-influenced improvised music which had been a big inspiration to him, and he asked if we could perform together. Our musical connection was magic from the start. Jody introduced me to his jazz record collection and we went on to perform as a piano-percussion duo for many years.  We parted ways for a bit during the time of my solo releases - Red Leaf Grey Sky and River Flow, and have now reunited for Maiden's Voyage. The one-take improvisation "Beneath the Dream" was the first track captured on the first day of recording, after four years apart." 

In addition to seven originals, Maiden's Voyage features Charlton's lyrical improvisation on Eden Ahbez' "Nature Boy" infused with Sun Ra-inspired chromatic complexity, "Adios Nonino" by Astor Piazzolla, Erik Satie's ethereal "Gnossienne No. 4", and two deeply emotional versions of the standard tune - "Autumn Leaves."  The album's only non-improvisatory piece is Alberto Ginastera's "Dance of the Graceful Maiden (Danza de la moza donosa)".

Charlton credits much of her approach to the teachings of long-time mentor David Darling (ECM Records, Hearts of Space, Wind Over the Earth Records, etc) and his organization Music for People.  As a young pianist, Darling was very influential when he told Charlton that her passion and commitment to the moment was impressive. Humbled by his words Charlton has tried to live up to them ever since.

Catherine Marie Charlton's recording Red Leaf, Grey Sky won the Independent Music Awards for Instrumental EP and was also awarded "Best Instrumental Album-Piano" in the 8th Annual ZMR Awards, as voted on by broadcasters worldwide.  Most recently, she performed on several tracks for Jeff Oster's (Bernard Purdie, Chuck Rainey, Nile Rodgers, etc) Next recording.  A recipient of numerous grants and residencies from organizations including the Delaware Division of the Arts, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and the Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts, the Steinway Artist is currently composing a body of works inspired by the Wyeth family of artists in collaboration with the Brandywine River Museum of Art.

1 comment:

Catherine Marie Charlton said...

Thanks for sharing!


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