The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #46624   Message #1084504
Posted By: Fortunato
02-Jan-04 - 09:05 AM
Thread Name: Review: PHILLY FOLKSONG SOCIETY Reviews
Subject: Zan Gardner: Here's My Heart
There's snow business like show business...
ZAN GARDNER: Here's My Heart

While a pessimist sees his glass as half empty and an optimist sees his glass as half full, and, while a mechanical engineer thinks his glass is twice as large as is needed, I am happy to report that my glass runneth over. My spirits are higher and my poundage is lower. I love my friends and they adore me. What more can I ask? My producer swears that we are almost done the CD. (Well, in truth, he's been saying that for months, but this time, I believe him). I am still searching for that one, perfect critic to review the finished product. So far, my list includes John Simon and me.

I have no traditional music to report on, this month, but a few CDs are of such merit that they deserve mention and comment. Some time ago, I reviewed two folk/jazz crossovers and wrote that the line between blues and jazz is no thicker than the linebetween Old Timey and Bluegrass. Once a traditional genre becomes commercial its evolution is inevitable. If Robert Johnson's music was the father of Mississippi John Hurt, it also sired the slickness of Josh White, the tenderness of Joe Williams and the power of James Brown. Without the roots of Delta Blues, there would have been no Bessie Smith, no Ethel Waters, no Billie Holiday or Dinah Washington. And, if a trad form can evolve into sophisticated art, it can transcend its racial and cultural borders. What was, in its raw folkiness, an expression of rural Southern Black poverty, is now the popular music that defines our society.

Thus, there is something distinctly American about the revolutionary sounds of Chestnut Hill jazz artist, Zan Gardner whose debut CD ("Here's My Heart") is exciting critics in her field and in mine. Ms. Gardner's approach is consciously non-traditional. She is her own primary influence. Her strength is her daring and imagination. She never met a tune she couldn't cook or a lyric she couldn't expand. She understands that invention and creativity are as vital to jazz as taste and tone. I have listened to her cut of "How High the Moon" a dozen times and I swear it sounds different every time. The CD is available in stores or can be ordered from the label's website

--- Michael Miller, Tune-Up, a publication of the Philadelphia Folksong Society