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Jenny Scheinman 

12 Songs

Wednesday, Jan 18 2006
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It's debatable how much veteran jazz guitarist Bill Frisell has influenced Brooklyn-based violinist Jenny Scheinman via their collaborations of the past few years. But there is one certainty: If you like Frisell's soporific, luminously melodic sound, then you'll love Scheinman's third album as a leader. With the exception of the oompah march groove of "Moe Hawk," the Bay Area native's compositions revel in languid tempos and dreamy, tuneful melodies that are sometimes so sweet, as on the Vince Guaraldi-pretty "Satelite" [sic], they may make your teeth ache. Even a buoyant track like the jig-friendly "Suza" comes across with such grace that it somehow feels wrong to want to kick up your heels. Scheinman's world-class septet -- Frisell, Ron Miles (cornet), Doug Wieselman (clarinet), Rachelle Garniez (accordion, piano, claviola), Tim Luntzel (bass), and Dan Rieser (drums) -- performs her spare arrangements with a note-perfect reserve that makes it seem as if the music is playing itself. Such an absence of overt player personalities gives the entire album a cohesive soundtrack feel, often noirish but sepia-toned (i.e., far from dark). It's an affect Frisell mastered more than a decade ago, and Scheinman now appears poised to carry on the tradition.

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Sam Prestianni

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