Andrea Brachfeld: If Not Now, When?

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The flutist Andrea Brachfeld has made a glittering career for herself on the Latin Jazz circuit, including performances with Dave Valentin and significant recordings with Chembo Corniel. But Yusef Lateef and Barry Harris also left a lifelong impression on her and – in a sense – she is returning the favour with this mighty sojourn into Jazz territory. If Not Now, When? is a wisely chosen rhetorical question of a title for her return to familiar terrain. The recording consists of several compositions of her own and others with pianist Bill O’Connell. It begins with the riveting song entitled “The Listening Song” which may suggest that she heeded to urge to distil her thoughts into pure juicy jazz. It is also a guarantee that one’s ears will stay glued to this disc.

Every work on the disc is a unique showpiece and Miss Brachfeld plays each with exceptionally clear articulation in the flashes of intense virtuosity, as well as elegance and lyricism. “The Silence” is vividly characterized, with the flutist running the gamut between dark turbulence and pastoral tranquility with absolute assurance. She does not waste time finding novel ways to dazzle – she just lets the music speak through her flute, often exercising unusual restraint where other musicians might take showy liberties. One has seldom heard the oft-repeated “Amazing Grace” neither rendered with such persuasive – well – grace, nor played with such fervor either.

But Miss Brachfeld’s playing is fiery and full-blooded when the music calls for it and the impression of music like a sudden gust of wind is always something that Miss Brachfeld conjures up as if spinning on a dime. The song “Anima Mea” is a delight, with the right kind of pianissimo pyrotechnics as her fingers certainly do the talking in a masterly fashion. All of the music actually announces Miss Brachfeld’s genius in a quiet yet uncompromising manner. And most of these songs are also refreshing in their audacity and confidence. And all of these pieces on this striking recording show the flutist to be firing on all cylinders as she goes out of her way to emphasise the freshness and cheekiness of her voice. Andrea Brachfeld truly is one of the most important voices in the history of the contemporary flute.

Track list – 1: The Listening Song; 2: Steppin’; 3: Creating Space; 4: The Silence; 5: Anima Mea; 6: Movers and Shakers; 7: Deeply I Live; 8: Moving Forward; 9: The Opening; 10: Amazing Grace

Personnel – Andrea Brachfeld: flutes; Bill O’Connell: piano; Harvie S: bass; Jason Tiemann: drums

Released – 2018
Label – Jazzheads
Runtime – 1:04:48

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