Saxophonist and composer Idit Shner, who grew up in Israel, joined the faculty of the University of Oregon as Instructor of Saxophone and Jazz Studies in 2006. Her education includes a Bachelor of Music degree from Oklahoma City University, a Masters degree in Music Education from University of Central Oklahoma, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from University of North Texas. Tuesday’s Blues is her debut disc. Her background includes work in both classical and jazz, and she is widely respected as a musician in the electro-acoustic field.
This disc is a collection of challenging and difficult music, some of it based on material and songs she heard as a child, that speaks well to her abilities to handle modal and trans-harmonic material. Shner is accompanied by Swedish pianist Stefan Karlsson who has spent time working with artists like Eddie Gomez, Rufus Reid, Tim Hagan, Dick Oatts and Chris Potter. Throughout he plays in a light yet declamatory style that matches Shner’s syncopation- and accent-laden concepts completely.
The bassist, Mike League, has an amazing ability to provide the perfect accompaniment in terms of melodically-based underpinning lines. His work behind Shner on "Tuesday’s Blues" is so singable it’s a true countermelody to her angular piston-like jabs into the up-tempo firmament. Then when playing behind Karlsson’s down-tempo solo, League immediately changes gears by outlining the chords Karlsson intentionally avoids referencing. You have to wonder if they were in each other’s minds at the time because the fit is so perfect.
Oklahoma born and raised drummer Steve Pruitt has worked with artists as diverse as Adam Rogers, Eddie Gomez, Phil Woods, Robert "Sput" Searwright, Cornell Dupree and Bobby Sparks. It’s hard to imagine this recording without his heavy backbeats that are complemented by his light and precise cymbal work.
Shner shows a real ability to transcend metered time conceptions, and move within well-defined harmonic structures as taught at today’s jazz schools that none-the-less are open for cross-influence from her own altered scale inflections. As she continues to develop it will be interesting to see if she allows these wonderfully unique and individual cross-scale influences, such as heard on "Adon Haselichot," to have greater prominence. If so, we could be seeing the birth of a great new singular jazz talent.
An excellent debut from an artist who shows great promise; keep an eye, and ear, on her.