Review: ‘Wild Lines: Jane Ira Bloom Plays Emily Dickinson’ at the KC Jazz Club

There is nothing quite like “a vast morsel.”

Photo courtesy of the Kennedy Center.
Photo courtesy of the Kennedy Center.

When Jane Ira Bloom plays her soprano saxophone, her wiry body jutting and jagging to the notes popping out of her horn, vastness of her petite frame couldn’t be more noticeable.

And she and her quartet (Dawn Clement on piano, Kent McLagan on bass, and Bobby Previte on drums) begin with small sounds.

Then Deborah Rush, actress, embodies the words of Emily Dickinson

The North
Star is
of small
but it

And then the piece takes flight.

Combining caesuras with wild sprees of joyous tones, Ms. Bloom brings each single note into focus. We hear breath in her sax.

We pause when she pauses.

And when Ms. Clement’s fingers rise above the keys, then strike with tender force Emily comes into view.

Alone and in a Circumstance
Reluctant to be told
A spider on my reticence
Assiduously crawled
And so much more at Home than I
Immediately grew
I felt myself a visitor
And hurriedly withdrew

Each slip of poem or prose acted like a title to a tune.

One note from one Bird
Is Better than a thousand Words

But from Bloom’s sax to Previte’s drum and his mad tappings and tinglings, that bird’s note rises to be heard.

In all, thirteen of Emily Dickinson’s snippets were shared: from “I lived a dread” to “I felt a cleansing in my Mind,” the quartet not so much answered as summoned in response a mutual desire.

And Ms. Rush’s gentle articulations (no poet-voice here!) as soft as any musical intonation from a breeze’s chime, were more impressive than song.

Like a Tune
the Recollection plays

we listened, and listened more, whether it be Bloom dancing harmonies or McLagan on a solo bass improvisation or Clement’s keys or Previte’s tinkerings turned virtuoso. We listened.

And loved.

Wild Lines: Jane Ira Bloom Plays Emily Dickinson was but the second in a rich season of jazz coming to the KC Jazz Club this Fall. It was performed on Friday, October 14, 2016 at The Kennedy Center’s Terrace Gallery – 2700 F Street, NW, in Washington, DC. For the full season at the Jazz Club go online.


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