Sunday, December 27, 2015

Jeremy Siskind Housewarming

Jeremy Siskind's "Housewarming" (BJU Records) is the second recording featuring the songs and piano of Siskind along with vocalist Nancy Harms and the woodwinds of Lucas Pino. This particular setting provides for the intimate rendition of original sings by Siskind with Pino's woodwinds coloring the vocals, which are mostly by Harms. There are four covers among the 13 songs here, The trio has also taken to the road performing a number of house concerts. On this recording there are also vocals by Kendra Shank, Kurt Elling and Peter Eldridge.

The publicity material observes that "[t]hemes of domesticity reverberate throughout the album, which reflects on what it means to have a place where you belong, a theme that Siskind grapples with often." The title track, sung by Peter Eldridge perhaps most immediately is an example of this, but there are so many marvelous performances including "New Old West Theme," a lovely duet by Eldridge and Harms as they sing about the sharing of the home and their lives together.

Harms, the main vocalist charms with an oft understated, almost whispery delivery, although more than capable of singing in a more extroverted style. Its a delight to listen to her phrasing, her dynamics and her marvelous pitch, but that can be said about all the singers here. The opening "Whispering Grass" is enchanting as is her rendition of "Moonlight in Vermont." Elling's vocal adds to the charm of "Light," with Pino's tenor sax adding color the vocal as well as take a solo that displays his robust tone and attack, and also the restraint he plays with. "Hymn of Thanks" is a marvelous ballad that coveys the gratefulness of having a home where one belongs," with Pino's adding another robust, restrained tenor sax solo.

Siskind's generally provides spare, deft backing (although he does showcase his technique on occasion here) with Pino providing buttery bass clarinet (listen to his interplay with Siskind on the opening "Whispering Glass"), lovely clarinet (which opens and helps add to the lovely "Moonlight in Vermont"), and tenor saxophone. The accompaniments contribute to the warmth and charm of "Homecoming," which is a marvelous recording to sit back and simply savor like an after dinner cordial.

I received my review copy from a publicist.  Here is a performance by Siskind, Harms and Pino.

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