Percussionist and composer Brian Adler has worked with artists like Gene Bertoncini, Ran Blake, Frank Carlberg, Anat Fort, Dave "Fuze" Fiuczynski, Erik Lawrence, Kate McGarry, Ben Monder, Stomu Takeishi, and Ray Vega. He is currently, in addition to being a leader, a member of Nick Kadajski's 5 Point Perspective, Sharon Spinetti's jazz/classical cross-over ensemble, the Wendy Gilles band, Kelley Suttenfield's Band, Stone Arabia. He founded the Prano Trio in 2003 with vocalist Sunny Kim, with The Singing Image Of Fire being their third release. As a teacher, Adler is on faculty at Hoff Barthelson Music School, Larchmont Music Academy as well as maintaining his own private practice. He has presented clinics at University of Oregon, Jersey City University, and Hoff Barthelson Conservatory. In 2003-2005, Adler taught alongside Ran Blake in his Development of Long Term Melodic Memory course and Hankus Netsky with his Jazz Theory course, both at the New England Conservatory, Boston.
Vocalist Sunny Kim, who is also an integral member of the Prana Trio, has performed with Dave Fiuczynski, Frank Carlberg, Pheeroan akLaff, Jason Hwang, Roswell Rudd, Irene Aebi, and Min Xiao Fen. She, like Adler, is a graduate of the New England Conservatory Of Music.
On this recording they aim to bridge the classic poetry of ancient Persia, India and China, with modern jazz sentiment. Sometimes they strike gold. If there is a unifying theme throughout the disc it’s that the lyric is the point of departure and the main reference for what goes on compositionally around its telling. On "Singing Image Of Fire" the text-painting is smooth, and tied to subtlety. The simple lyric paints its own picture, and when the lyric gets to "whirling takes different shapes" the music moves right along with it. A rocked-out section employing Robert Lanzetti’s guitar provides stark contrast.Kim’s voice never sounded better than on "Kangbyunsalja." Her inflections and incantations are resplendent with a purity of tone matched by few. Adler’s percussion work is sparse, yet fills the holes in a uniquely precise way reminiscient of the orchestral scoring. On the more avant-garde oriented pieces, such as "Out Beyond Ideas," Kim always demonstrates a refinement of phrase and a knowing way around the lyric that makes it uniquely hers. Adler’s accompanying music is rooted in the now, but still pays tribute to the history of jazz. On "I Felt Love" Carmen Staaf’s piano moves of its own groove and swings so slyly you’ll be caught in its intoxication before you have a chance to reflect on how it grew organically from the initial opening motives. Not all of the tracks are winners. Sometimes, as on "Courteous To The Ant," there is a little bit of a strained effort seen in the mixing of the lyric with the music. These thoughtful and perceptive musicians, however, must be applauded for their dedication and search for greater musical connections across not just cultures, but time epochs as well.