By Cree McCree | Published January 2022
Exile. Loss. Wandering. Immigration. Lena Bloch & Feathery draw deep from the well of the Russian-born saxophonist’s personal journey while charting a course toward home with the universal language of music. And during the pandemic-shadowed years since Heart Knows (2017), Bloch’s previous release with Feathery’s current lineup, the quartet’s intuitive conversation has grown both deeper and wider.
The core collaboration between Bloch and pianist Russ Lossing, whose rising star shined brightly on Metamorphism (2021), produced all seven of Rose Of Lifta’s originals (four by Bloch, three by Lossing). But Feathery’s shimmering flights of fancy wouldn’t soar as high without the booster rockets launched by bassist Cameron Brown and drummer Billy Mintz.
“Promise Of Return,” the Bloch-penned opener, evokes the divinations of snake charmers on an album infused with the Middle Eastern motifs that continue to inspire Bloch, who lived in Israel and cites Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish as a guiding light. On the eponymous track Bloch devotes to Darwish, Lossing caresses the keyboards as sensuously as a dancer dropping her veils. Then, powered by Bloch’s tenor saxophone, the whole quartet explodes in whirling-dervish fashion, taking the stage in New York, her new hometown and the latest stop on her journey.
Best listened to in its entirety, Rose Of Lifta is a musical migration that climbs out of the past toward the future, but always leaves a trail of breadcrumbs to find your way back home.
Rose Of Lifta: Promise Of Return; Mad Mirror; New Home; Climbing Rose Of Lifta; Old Home; Mahmoud Darwish; Wintery Mix. (61:59)
Personnel: Lena Bloch, saxophone; Russ Lossing, piano; Cameron Brown, bass; Billy Mintz, drums.
Ordering Info: freshsoundrecords.com