A Seattle native who's been soaking in the energy of New York City for the past half dozen years, Jessica Lurie has released the first new album from her ensemble in nearly as long ago as her relocation. It was worth the wait.
Long Haul is a diverse collection of all the style that Lurie has shown since her youthful days in legendary Seattle groups The Billy Tipton Memorial Saxophone Quartet and The Living Daylights. At times playful, frantic, mesmerizing, funky, mysterious and downright beautiful, Jessica Lurie is playing and composing as well as she ever has.
The album includes many modern jazz stars from her new hometown, but live in the KNKX studios she brought together an all-star northwest crew.
Her friend Naomi Moon-Seigel plays trombone on the album and the now-Missoula-based dynamo was a pleasure to hear live. A former member of the Tiptons, Tarik Abouzied settled in on drums with guitarist Andy Coe fitting in just right without sacrificing his own unique, rocking style.
A special surprise was young bassist Ben Feldman. A first call player around town who's still a few months shy of high school graduation, he'd never met Lurie before. Listeners will be hard-pressed to hear any immaturity in his playing. Feldman even threw down a tasty solo and received approving raised eyebrows from his elder band mates.
Along with a pair of wonderful melodies from the new Long Haul album, we were treated to a thrilling performance of "Baba Yaga's Seven League Boots" from Lurie's 2006 album Tiger Tiger.
Jessica Lurie may be living in the Big Apple right now, but it was clear from her performance and her band that she will always have a home and plenty of musicians to play with in Seattle. This session performance was convincing proof.