With the Jessica Lurie Ensemble, Lurie continues to show her flexibility, melding American jazz traditions with various international sounds. Both her saxophones and her vocals have their moments on Megaphone Heart, but the album’s geared toward showing off her compatriots. “Same Moon”, a meditative piece inspired by missing a friend, builds around Erik Deutsch’s piano part, and takes nearly all of its run time to get to its emotional core, but without ever dragging along the way. Brandon Seabrook’s contributions on both guitar and banjo are noteworthy, whether with the guiding plinks of “A Million Pieces All in One” or the more raucous guitar work on the disc. The ensemble throughout experiments not just with structures and styles, but with sounds, as on the spacey rock of “Boot Heels”. That sort of play finds greatest effect on the title track, where the simple megaphone effects pull around the lovely opening tones, creating a piece off-balance enough to have its own tone without turning into something truly alien. It’s the sound of a tightly focused ensemble pulling together everything they need.
// Notes from the Road
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