Street Date: February 16th, 2018
Emotionally honest and raw, Ocean Av confronts both the calm and the chaotic points of life that lead to new paths of self-discovery.
On this 10-track collection of heartfelt original compositions, Frank is joined by widely-acclaimed pianist Aaron Parks, with whom Frank workshopped Ocean Av for over a year. “I’ve never felt as musically supported as I do with Aaron, or felt so much trust sharing my songs and shaping them with him,” says Frank. Joining Parks is drummer Jim Black, bassist Rick Rosato and guitarist Franky Rousseau with guest appearances by trumpeter Simon Millerd and Pedro Barquinha on electronics.
Written over a two year period, Ocean Av tells a journey of self-discovery prompted by a move from Montreal, where Frank had established herself as a prominent figure on the music scene during a fruitful ten-year period, to Brooklyn, New York. “I didn’t know where I was going to end up, or what I needed to do, I just didn’t feel at home in my life anymore,” she explains. These feelings poured into one of Ocean Av’s most beautifully emotive offerings, “Good Morning, Good Night”. Within a month of penning the track, Frank made her stateside move.
This life-change serves as the backdrop for much of Ocean Av, which takes it’s name from the border between Frank’s new neighborhood of Lefferts Garden and Prospect Park. Standout tracks include the rhodes-heavy first single “Best Friend,” an anthem for independence and self-reliance, and the stunning “One With”, where Parks’ harmonic chops shine. Perhaps the most addictive track on the record, “Enough,” chronicles Frank’s struggles to make art in New York City while spending so much of her time waitressing. “I was reminding myself not only that there are no guarantees when it comes to following your dreams, but also that we have to keep following them anyway, and finding the reasons to do so - like community and a need to create,” she says.
Ocean Av serves as the follow up to Frank’s critically acclaimed 2015 release The People We’re Becoming which helped solidify Frank’s status as one the most sought after vocalists on the Montreal music scene after she emerged in 2014 with her debut For Being Apart. Her warm, gossamer voice, aptly described by award-winning Canadian songwriter Leif Vollebekk as “leather on silk” has brought her to stages of the Montreal Jazz Festival, the Toronto Jazz Festival, Pop Montreal, and NXNE, among others.
With the help of her A-list backing musicians, Frank has created an outstanding work that showcases intricate arrangements, confessional, beautifully honest lyrics and her beguiling vocals.
"The best performances of the evening involved just Emma and Aaron as the Rockwood Steinway invited us in and Emma’s airy vocals filled up the rest." Read the full concert review here.
"With Ocean Av, Frank negotiates darkness and light, folk directness and jazz complication, depression and hope, chill sonority and grooves that are remarkably crisp and propulsive." Read the full track premiere and interview here.
DEE DEE MCNEIL
MUSICAL MEMOIRS BLOG
"If you are looking for something uniquely different, you will find it in the music of Emma Frank." Read the full feature here.
"Now, the music that Frank makes is vivid yet intimate, leaning heavily into folk and roots music — a Canadian listener might hear echoes of Sarah McLachlan, Joni Mitchell or Margo Timmins in Frank’s songs and singing." Read the full feature here.
"Vocalist Emma Frank brings genuine peacefulness and transparent honesty to everything she touches." Read the full video premiere for "Best Friend" here.
"The Brooklyn-based Franks, 30, was a sylph-like performer who invited listeners in with poetic, revelatory lyrics and songs that soothed despite their unexpected contours." Read the full review here.
THE ARTS FUSE
"The album is all originals — so no standards with which to conduct a proper jazz-police investigation. But the poetry of the lyrics is smart, and so are the singing, the voice, and the adventurous musicality." Read the full feature here.