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Pacific Harp Project: Play

Based out of Hawaii, the Pacific Harp Project is a fairly recent project having released their self-titled debut in 2015. Their latest album is simply titled Play. The band consists of Megan Bledsoe Ward (harp), Noel Okimoto (vibraphone), Todd Yukumoto (soprano saxophone), Jon Hawes (bass) and Allan Ward (drums).

This is a pretty classy affair with quality musicianship and high melodic aspirations. The harp playing is lovely, whether strummed or plucked and the vibraphone and sax spots offer quite e few highlights. For the most part this is a mellow disc with mostly jazz flavourings although the tempo does speed up occasionally as in “The Vastness” where the drumming is really quite excellent. The music is mostly instrumental except for a couple of tracks including the Marcel Tournier penned “La Lettre” featuring French vocals by Jamie Jordan. She has a jazzy voice, kind of nostalgic, which I really like. Sometimes the music does get more experimental such as the five part suite “Sketches of Scintillation” where bits of dissonance creep in. Each movement highlights a band member and the playing is excellent. Check out the sax work in “Movement II” to hear what I mean. The last track “Broken Handel”, a rearrangement of George Handel’s piece, is another example of inventive band interplay. The solo bass spot is particularly exciting.

This isn’t an album where the playing jumps out at you. It’s much more subtle than that but no less impressive. Jazz fans looking for something a bit outside the box may find a lot to love here. Check out the band’s webpage by clicking on the link below.

Track Listing:
1. Lily Lou
2. The Vastness
3. La Lettre
4. Sketches of Scintillation ��" Movement I
5. Sketches of Scintillation ��" Movement II
6. Sketches of Scintillation ��" Movement III
7. Sketches of Scintillation ��" Movements IV-V
8. Une Châtelaine
9. Oh, What A World
10. Sunflower
11. Broken Handel

Added: May 28th 2019
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Band's Official Site
Hits: 1422
Language: english

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