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Label: Self Produced
Birdy; The Bridge At Night; La-Da-Dee; What Went With the Wind; Tired Face; The Orchid; The Sky Was Pale Blue, Then Grey
Allison Au: saxophone; Todd Pentney: piano, rhodes, Hammond B3; Jon Maharaj: bass, electric bass; Fabio Ragnelli: drums; Felicity Williams: voice
Juno Award Nominee for "Best Contemporary Jazz Album of the Year" Toronto Jazz musician Allison Au makes a formidable impression with her debut release, “The Sky Was Pale Blue, Then Grey.” Featuring seven of her original compositions, “The Sky...” provides a fresh perspective from an emerging Canadian modern Jazz composer and performer. After several years of performing in Toronto's major Jazz venues, as well as conducting three Creative Music residencies at the renowned Banff Centre, it is clear that The Allison Au Quartet harnesses the strengths of each of its members to create a refined and poignant sound of a unique collective. The opening track, “Birdy”, sets the tone as a mid-tempo exploration of varying instrumental textures. Latin-influenced “The Bridge at Night” and “What Went With The Wind” provide engaging up-tempo rhythmic contrast amongst the album's repertoire. The featured ballads, “La-Da-Dee”, “Tired Face” and “The Orchid” are integrated in intervals throughout the recording, serving as a form of musical pause; each piece gently invites the audience to embrace a new melody with rich accompanying harmonies. Finally, the title track, “The Sky Was Pale Blue, Then Grey”, is a comprehensive experiment of mixed mediums. Combining textures of the human voice with ambient sound effects and a funkier quartet instrumentation breathes a freshness into the ensemble that instantly sounds open and free. The astute, interactive playing dynamic between band members creates truly distinguishing musical narratives in each of the compositions. Supporting Allison Au on alto saxophone are pianist Todd Pentney, bassist Jon Maharaj and drummer Fabio Ragnelli. “The Sky Was Pale Blue, Then Grey” is a promising debut that Au has released with confidence and poise.