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Distances by Norma Winstone

With her first release for ECM Records in over a decade, legendary vocalist Norma Winstone aligns her multifarious talents with a German-Italian duo for a jazz-chamber like stylization. Winstone’s albums with trumpeter/flugelhornist Kenny Wheeler and pianist John Taylor loom as minor-classic products within the modern jazz realm. And she’s recorded with large ensemble outfits, largely harmonizing with horns over the top amid numerous ventures that parlay her in-depth navigations of the jazz idiom.

Winstone shares a distinct sense of intimacy with pianist Glauco Venier and bass clarinetist/soprano saxophonist Klaus Gesing here. She’s a veritable pro within these tiny ensemble formats. And as many of us would surmise, the program is teeming with wondrous harmonic content, melodically oriented contrasts and shifting pulses. Think of vignettes, especially on Venier’s comp "Distance," where Winstone’s velvety vocals ride above a simple piano motif and soul-searching sax lines.

The vocalist’s poetic mode of delivery elicits notions of floating on a cloud to complement the trio’s yearning choruses and sublime solo spots. Interestingly enough, the musicians spin rock icon Peter Gabriel’s "Here Comes The Flood," into a whispery storyline to complement a feeling of ownership. Throughout, Winstone sings directly to your heart. Not many vocalists can cast such an emotive characteristic in such telling fashion. (Recommended listening.... )

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Norma Winstone
  • CD Title: Distances
  • Genre: Progressive
  • Year Released: 2008
  • Record Label: ECM Records
  • Musicians: Norma Winstone (voice), Glauco Venier (piano), Klaus Gesing (bass clarinet; soprano saxophone)
  • Rating: Four Stars
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