Jane Ira Bloom/Mark Helias

Some Kind Of Tomorrow
(Self Released)

Perhaps the most insidious damage that COVID-19 has wrought upon humanity is the denial of our ability to be fully present with one another. Dealing with this trauma has been a unique and existential challenge for creative improvisers, and early in the pandemic, these two master musicians and friends sought to remedy their plight. Performed and recorded entirely in isolation, connected only via the internet, Bloom and Helias manage to enter into the sacred spaces of connection and communion, proving they exist outside of time and physical location.

For the better part of an hour, the duo embarks on a wide-ranging journey through various soundscapes and textures. The initial spaciousness of the title track reveals the familiar elegance of Bloom’s soprano saxophone tone and the ruddy warmth of Helias’ bass. “Roughing It” starts playfully and exploratory, until Bloom quotes the opening refrain from the Victor Schertzinger/Johnny Mercer evergreen “I Remember You,” which seems to transport them into a bygone jazz age, as Helias drifts into walking-bass mode with Bloom swinging jauntily over the top, eventually settling into a bluesy coda. At times, they engage in a bit of role reversal, as on “Far Satellites,” when Helias, through his deft use of harmonics, actually bows melodies above Bloom’s sustained tones in a surprising inversion of timbral color.

Through it all, what is apparent is both Bloom and Helias are in a healing process of rediscovering each other through their sound sharing, embracing a complete gamut of expressivity that could easily be interpreted altogether as joy.