From the songbook of Abbey Lincoln, the transformation of Ms Kendra Shank has been a notable accomplishment, acquiring new extremes on her trek by way of ,at times, stoic jazz corridors. Under a new mark, referred to as the Kendra Shank Quartet, Ms Shank has taken life’s free-fall into emotion, and brought to the music populace Mosaic, an open book to life’s defining moments. Released by Challenge Records, the project describes the pieces from her life, arranged in sequence and temperament to create these chosen free of complexity expressions - baptized as the Shank tableau.
I was taken by her first excerpt on the disk of Carole King’s "So Far Away" in which this touching performance was interpreted as a reaching out for a personal yearning that was far beyond her grasp. Ms. Shank’s tempo was concentrated and appropriate for the arrangement. Not to be slighted, along with that accolade comes the escorted splendor by Billy Drewe’s clarinet, which affords this cut numerous notices.
The allure of this disk is Ms. Shank’s ability to pursue and encapsulate moods with each play. The versatility of her range, tempo and adaptation of diverse arrangements made it unmistakable to most, that she has reached the next stage of her calling.
One cut that will catch the consideration of jazz visionaries is "Reflections in Blue/Blue Skies." This spin is a diverse emotional piece of music between Ms. Shank and Irving Berlin’s classic opus. Within the sounds, there is an ivory solo by Frank Kimbrough, which seems to become the glue of the spin. Let that, in any way, not take from the vocal flow of Ms Shank on the cut. This is a partnership piece that catches the ear.
Mosaic is just what it infers...many pieces of emotion placed methodically onto one significant canvas. Arrangements are well thought out and interpreted by Ms. Shank with a precise focus on the relationship of the lyric and sound. This is her trademark as she extracts the brass ring once again.