The accomplished composer, vocalist and educator Jenny Davis’s outstanding new project Rearranged examines social awareness with uncommon and delicate artistry, at the same time delivering the message of change in no uncertain terms. It is music full of passion and is sung and performed by Miss Davis in collaboration with a group of outstanding musicians. To begin with there is the Seattle-based pianist, arranger and composer, Jovino Santos-Neto who brings considerable heft to this undertaking by immersing himself in the music with much more than his pianism alone. He arranged “”Answer the Call”; he is also a soloing performer throughout the programme and his quartet also features prominently on the disc as well.
Also fully immersed in this music are the celebrated Sirius Quartet featured here on a breathtaking live version of “Rearranged” which is set alight by some beautiful playing by the quartet’s award-winning violin virtuoso, Gregor Huebner. But make no mistake the spotlight shines brightly on this is Miss Davis. She has composed and arranged specially for this unique project. Moreover, this is a sophisticated, refreshingly un-egoistic performance by an artist who shows that she can be as singularly original as she is quietly magical. This, of course, begins with the relevance of Davis’ art; in this case the music itself and – when the heady notes require further adornment – the lyrics of the songs as well.
The central to everything on this disc is the trilogy of compositions: “Come with Me”, “Yeoman Warders” and (the two versions of) “Rearranged”. Essentially, the inspiration for this music comes from the stated intention to promote the acceptance of diversity in society: the Yeoman Warders Project has been created in the hope of changing hearts and minds through the medium of music. “Come with Me” (track 3), is an invitation performed by Jovino Santos Neto Trio together with vocalists Jenny Davis and Vanessa Littrell. The lyric beckons the listener into the world of acceptance, to challenge old beliefs, listen and celebrate the beauty of the truth.
“Yeoman Warders” is a suite in three movements for jazz saxophone quartet. The prelude, entitled “Utopia Changes” expresses a time of innocence between a mother and child and is based on the belief that no harm will come to the child. Following this is by the minor blues section, a twist to the arrangement, which represents the truth unfolding and the “standing guard” in the face of lies, untruths, even hatred. Finally, the interlude depicts the “Mother Bear” and her anger toward an unsafe culture. This music reflects the influence of Charles Mingus’ Big Band, John Coltrane’s music and the spirit of Gil Scott-Heron’s as well. This is the first instrumental piece ever written by Davis; clearly no lyrics are needed. It speaks to her confidence and skills as a bona fide instrumental composer and arranger.
Finally “Rearranged” is a prayer, scored and orchestrated for string quartet. The album includes two versions: a live version with The Sirius String Quartet and a studio version performed by the Jovino Santos Neto piano trio. Both tracks have vocals. The studio version opens with a beautiful solo piano by Neto. Taken as a whole, Rearranged is an album to absolutely die for…
Track list – 01: Aceptar; 02: And What If I Don’t 03: Come With Me; 04: Rearranged; 05: Yeoman Warders; 06: Invitation; 07: Saying Yes; 08: Calling You; 09: Answer the Call; 10: Gemini Tango; 11: Wise Up; 12: Rearranged (Bonus Track; live performance by The Sirius String Quartet and Jenny Davis)
Personnel – Jenny Davis: vocals and composition; Jovino Santos Neto: piano; Chuck Deardorf: bass; Jeff Busch: drums; Kurt Festinger: tenor saxophone; Dimitri Matheny: flugelhorn; Mark Taylor: alto saxophone; Heather Bentley: viola/violin; David Lange: accordion; The Yeoman Warders Sax Quartet – Kate Olsen: soprano; Mark Taylor: alto; Cynthia Mullis: tenor; Jim Dejoie: baritone; Additional vocals Lorrie Ruiz: (7), Vanessa Littrell: (3); Arrangements – Jenny Davis: (01, 03, 04, 05, 11); Jovino Santos Neto: (09); Tim Carey: (02, 06); Christian Dancy: (07, 10); Chuck Easton: (08)
Released – 2020
Label – Three Penny Records
Runtime – 55:36