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Edkins; Kirsten: Art & Soul

It's always a delight to see new blood being welcomed into a world of old sounds, hence to have young saxophonist Kirsten Edkins nurtured towards and through her first album by the likes of Bob Shepherd, is rewarding indeed. Playfully titled Art & Soul, the nine tracks that make up this record dart and dance through a selection of traditional jazz themes, showing Edkins to be no pupil during her tutelage. Indeed this is a lady already possessing more than enough vigour and poise to make an instant mark through her touch and tone, always playing for the song, yet never afraid to stretch it out and make the sound her own.

On the track "Stomping Ground" for example, where energy and vim are in high order, Larry Goldings is given the room to drive the songs on with a deft Hammond Organ touch, while drummer Mike Ferber does a wonderful job of walking that ever so thin line between solid backbone and outright show stealer. However, in truth, much though the pair and the rest of the musicians involved all provide sterling accompaniment and are all given their own time as top billing, again and again it's Edkins' perfect interjections that draw the ear and keep you entertained.

The album's title cut ably illustrates the other side of Art & Soul, a mid paced, but passionately delivered piece relaxing into itself through Mike Valerio's soulful bass contributions and Goldings' perfect piano. Bob Shepherd himself shows up (he also produces the album), adding tenor sax to the mesmerising swoop and surge of "Imagineering", while his bass clarinet work on the sweep and slither of "The Bug" and gentle, but seductive caress of "Good Blood" proves masterful.

Sometimes an album doesn't need to be crammed with innovations and wild ideas to make a mark, and Art & Soul is exactly that album. Instead you receive a passionate set of songs delivered with a real sense of power and force, but also with an equal measure of love and care. There may be a gentle air of paying homage to a familiar sound, but when you can hear the joy and excitement behind it all, it's actually one of the many strengths of this album.

Track Listing
1. Big B
2. Good Blood
3. Mean Greens
4. Soul Eyes
5. Imagineering
6. The Bug
7. Stomping Ground
8. Art & Soul
9. No Ordinary Joe

Added: December 6th 2015
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Kirsten Edkins online
Hits: 1667
Language: english

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