Jane Ira Bloom/Mark Helias

See Our Way

The album title itself is an invitation into the sound world of two seasoned improvisers, soprano sax explorer Jane Ira Bloom and her longtime collaborator, bassist Mark Helias. Together they take the listener on a journey that travels from sublime intimacy to jaunty swing, mesmerizing soundscapes and edgy avant garde extrapolations. A purely improvised session in the studio, these pieces have the aura of spontaneous composition, a testament to the duo’s innate telepathy.

The gently melodic title track opens the collection on a sparse rubato note, recalling the intimate encounters between Ornette Coleman and Charlie Haden on 1979’s Soapsuds Soapsuds. Helias puts some bounce in his boldly resonant walking lines on the upbeat “Cut To The Chase.” His bowed overtones and harmonics blend beautifully with Bloom’s soprano on the adventurous “Laser Plane,” and his aggressive arco work creates a hypnotic effect on “Imaginary Fences.”

The two engage in some playful call-and-response on “Detectives” and also on the driving swinger “Hard Science,” then space becomes their partner on the meditative “As Close As It Gets.” Perhaps their most engaging encounter happens on the winsome “Folks Sing,” which finds Bloom soaring on soprano. “Hold The Wire” and “Quelle” both represent edgy detours into skronkville, while closer “Second Hand Lonely” is a return to hushed elegance.

Recorded over several months in 2021–’22, See Our Way is a followup to their first release as a duo, 2021’s Some Kind Of Tomorrow. And this time, they go even deeper.

On Sale Now
January 2023
Fred Hersch & esperanza spalding
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