Justin Time Records
November 4, 2016
with Harold Mabern and Joe Farnsworth
“Listening to her is like putting your finger into a naked power-socket.” -Raul da Gama, Wholenote Magazine
Canada’s prodigiously talented bassist handles her bass violin with as much visceral audacity as the great Charles Mingus once did, a fact that might raise the question of feminine power.
Recorded in the summer of 2015 in Montreal after a successful engagement at the International Montréal Jazz Festival, “Blue Canvas” is an exploration of the Divine Madness. “When I was younger, lying under my mother's piano while she transcribed Bill Evans, jazz was infinite: an endless discovery. I now reside in Harlem just blocks away from Duke Ellington's residence, and I am constantly overcome with an unsettledness to unravel a joy that is drenched in swinging jazz,” says Brandi.
On “Blue Canvas” Disterheft evokes Mabern, who at 80-years young is still tickling the ivories with soulful panache. Ever the gentlemen, he returns the favor thanks to his sensitive accompaniment to Brandi’s riveting solos, one of them a cappella “Prelude to Crippling Thrill”. On the following cut “Crippling Thrill”, and three other originals, Brandi elevates the game, singing self-penned lyrics sustaining power with elegance and ease. What's more, she marks her debut on cello in the latter piece, tipping her cap to the legendary Oscar Pettiford.
Disterheft, who is a prolific composer, specifically wrote the originals of the album with the trio in mind. Between her original pieces and jazz classics like Bobby Timmons' “Dis Here”, Tadd Dameron's “Our Delight”, and rarely heard Clifford Brown’s “George's Dilemma”, the music paints itself over a canvas of luminous colours. Mabern and Farnsworth breathe fiery dialogues into the bassist’s sinuous lines. Additional album highlights include an unusual rhapsodic treatment of Clifford Brown’s “Daahoud”, a decidedly fresh take on the standard “Willow Weep for Me”, and a fine romp over Mabern's own “Beehive”.
In her eloquent liner notes, the multi-talented musician reminds us of the Muses of Ancient Greece, as philosophized by Plato, and how these Gods would lead the artist into a state of ecstasy. Such are the feelings that lead her to reveal, “This album tells a story about that escape to freedom and the unyielding feeling of coming alive.”
MORE ABOUT BRANDI DISTERHEFT:
A native of North Vancouver and currently based in New York, Brandi Disterheft has recorded with Hank Jones on his Grammy winning album “Pleased to Meet You.” She is featured as a major player alongside the best names in mainstream jazz including Cyrus Chestnut and Jeremy Pelt on numerous recordings for hard-bop saxophonist Vincent Herring on the Smoke Sessions Records. She has toured extensively to Japan, Europe and, closer to home, to concert stages and festivals on both sides of the North American border. What’s more, she has graced several majors stages, including Carnegie Hall, and as an added honor, performed for First Lady Michelle Obama at Jazz at Lincoln Center in Doha who was attending a world summit about global girls’ education in the Middle East.
ALL ABOUT JAZZ
"It's a work that uses various shades and hues of the titular color to form a connective design, or if you prefer, a loose theme, built with confident swinging and singing of the cool and hot varieties." Read the full review here.
HOT HOUSE JAZZ
"As a bassist, Brandi distinguishes herself with one of the most booming, resonantly full tones on the jazz scene today." Read the full review here.
BEBOP SPOKEN HERE
"The second vocal. This lady could make it with, or without the bass, as a singer, composer and lyricist although I hope she sticks with all her options!" Read the full review here.
"A joyful work that abounds with seductive rhythms, colorful sounds and fiery improvisations". Read full review here.
"The album has a heavy swing to it reminiscent of the Oscar Peterson and Ray Brown trios, and Disterheft’s rich bass lines and solos are equally matched by her smoky vocals". Read full review here.
JAZZ HISTORY ONLINE
"Her unaccompanied “Prelude to the Crippling Thrill” showcases her richly colored tone, and like Charles Mingus, her solos swing the band without sacrificing the sound." Read full review here.
"A modern gal that knows how to kick it old school, Disterheft continues to impress us as much as she did Oscar Peterson with her ability to swing a bass with the alacrity of Charles Mingus."
NEW YORK CITY JAZZ RECORD
"...but this [release] is more focused and mature, concentrating on bluesy postbop and leaving ample room for her ‘sidemen’ to shine." Full review here.
"A smart and expressive release"
"Exercising her vocaland songwriting skills (and, for the first time on record, alternating between bass and cello), the dexterous Disterheft adds extra layers of richness." Read the full review here.
"Disterheft seems content to simply share a rhythm section with these veterans, inspiring them with her ennthusiastic playing." Read the full feature here.
"The album mixes obscure standards and creative originals, uptempo swing and moody ballads, instrumental improvs and lyrical vocals that highlight Brandi’s smoky, ethereal voice." Read the full feature here.