Published May 16, 2018Canadian transplant Stephanie Richards' new disc is promoted as an experimental/improv effort — it is that, and more. Because her instrument of choice is the trumpet, admirers of free jazz will find a lot here to sink their teeth into. So will lovers of new classical music; these nine works are ambitious to the point of rendering categorization meaningless.
Richards' performance is entirely acoustic. Dino J.A. Dean contributes his sampling expertise, some of it produced live on the spot; Dean records Richards and bounces manipulated samples back at her in an intensely satisfying 33-minute set.
Some of the best jazz improv recordings in history have featured a pair of accomplished performers riffing off of one another. This is a similar dynamic, pushed hard by Richards' range and Dean's ingenious use of his tech. This is an album meant to be taken in as a whole. Its beauty lays in its spontaneity and in its ability to surprise us at virtually every turn.
Richards has built herself a fascinating resume. She's accompanied some of the greats of new music: Anthony Braxton, Henry Threadgill and John Zorn among them. But the Brooklynite is no snob and is just as likely to share an arena stage with Kanye West or the Pixies as she is a theatre hall with an avant-garde hero. (Relative Pitch Records)