White soprano saxophonist Jane Ira Bloom (1955) carried out
one of the most breathtaking excursions at the
border between structure and improvisation. She started out in a very
independent fashion with
We Are (march 1978), a duet with bassist Kent McLagan,
and Second Wind (june 1980), in a quintet with
pianist Larry Karush and vibraphonist David Friedman,
bridging Anthony Braxton and Coleman Hawkins.
This attitude triumphed on Mighty Lights (november 1982), thanks to
a quartet that featured pianist Fred Hersch and Ornette Coleman's rhythm section of two decades earlier, namely bassist Charlie Haden and drummer Ed Blackwell,
and thanks to compositions such as 2-5-1 that embodied postmodernism at
in its most subtle manifestation.
After the transitional duets with Hersh of As One (september 1984), notably the nine-minute Waiting For Daylight, Hersh was promoted to electronic
keyboards to create the brainy tapestry of Modern Drama (february 1987), that harked back to Paul Bley's experiments with live electronic music.
The quartet with Hersh took a detour into the ballad format with
Slalom (june 1988) before
Bloom's compositional art peaked on
Art & Aviation (july 1992). Featuring Bloom herself on live electronics,
trumpeter Kenny Wheeler,
bassist Michael Formanek and
electro-acoustic percussionist Jerry Granelli (again, a line-up that resembled
Ornette Coleman's piano-less quartet of thirty years earlier),
the album merged her passion
for abstract painting and her flair for melody in sophisticated visions such as
Oshumare, Art & Aviation and especially
Most Distant Galaxy.
After another light-weight divertissment, Nearness (july 1995), featuring
Wheeler, Hersh, trombonist Julian Priester, bassist Rufus Reid and drummer Bobby Previte,
the quartet session with Hersch, bassist Mark Dresser and Previte that yielded
The Red Quartets (january 1999) were a showcase for her surgical blend
of design and performance,
from the torrential Emergency to the sparse Tell Me Your Diamonds.
Replacing Hersh with Vincent Bourgeyx, Bloom's quartet made another u-turn
towards melody on Sometimes the Magic (july 2000).
In a unique way of asserting her role as a transmission chain,
for every step she made towards free jazz, concept art and experimental
counterpoint, Bloom also made a step backwards towards the roots of jazz and
Chasing Paint (may 2002), recorded by the classic quartet with
Hersch, Dresser and Previte, was her tribute to one of her influences, Jackson Pollock's abstract painting, her motion-activated synthesizer haunting
the cryptic meditations of Unexpected Light and Alchemy.
Replacing Hersh with Jamie Saft, Like Silver Like Song (july 2004)
was more than the usual retreat into melody: it balanced her split personality,
not only alternating catchy tunes and free-form pieces but also fusing the
two into the nine-minute Vanishing Hat.
Bloom is also a member of Atlantic/Pacific Waves with Chinese pipa player Min Xioa-Fen, Korean Komungo player Jin Hi Kim and bassist Mark Dresser.
Mental Weather (june 2007) featured
her quartet: pianist Dawn Clement, bassist Mark Helias and drummer Matt Wilson.
Bobby Previte replaced Wilson on
Wingwalker (june 2010).
Sixteen Sunsets (june 2013) offers traditionals and originals performed
by a quartet with
Fallacaro (piano), Cameron Brown (bass) and Matt Wilson (drums).
Early Americans (september 2015) documents a trio
with bassist Mark Helias and drummer Bobby Previte.
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