CD Review by Eric Alan – Judi Silvano & The Zephyr Band Lessons Learned (2018)

You know this album has been a bit perplexing for me to write about, it has taken me weeks to do and listen to, it has moved my thoughts and memories in countless directions. Judi Silvano’s words awaken so much of a life lived, sometimes well and um, sometimes not so well. I was forced into a corner and felt the need to listen to her very thought provoking lyrics extremely carefully. The album has become somewhat of an intense catharsis on a personal level whilst listening intently. Today, I thought I should read the PR blurb that accompanied the album by publicist Lydia Liebman, something that I don’t usually do before I start listening to and writing a review. After careful reading thought that I could not do any better therefore decided to include the full blurb. All I can say is I like the album and it has now become a permanent fixture on my iPhones playlist.

“Judi’s compositions are like her paintings – Magical!” Sheila Jordan, NEA Jazz Master

Unit Records is proud to release Judi Silvano’s new album Lessons Learned today, Friday, July 13th. Produced by Grammy Award-winning saxophonist and composer Joe Lovano, Lessons Learned features the members of Silvano’s Zephyr Band with an unusual lineup for a jazz singer: two electric guitars.  These are wielded by Kenny Wessel and Bruce Arnold who together provide orchestral settings for the songs. The band is rounded out with Adam Kolker on bass clarinet, soprano and tenor sax, Ratzo B. Harris on bass, Bob Meyer on drums and Todd Isler on percussion. Joe Lovano lends his signature sound on tenor sax to two tracks. Lessons Learned began as a mature musical compilation of personal observations on life and love, but has since developed into a statement that aims to evoke a feeling of universal understanding and respect for others amongst its listeners.

“This is one of the most inspired and fun recording sessions I’ve ever been a part of; it’s full of beautiful, joyous music!” – Joe Lovano

Judy & Joe

Parallel to Lovano’s adventurous arrangements, Judi’s writing varies from tender and spiritual to raucous and whimsical. On Lessons Learned, the vocalist – who is also credited for the painting that graces the album cover – is not afraid to bare her heart and sing of intimacy and she tackles the realities of aging with hilarious candor. There comes a point in anyone’s life that is a place of reflection; a review of a lifetime’s worth of choices and decisions. For Silvano, this point in her life marked the creation of Lessons Learned. This 10 track opus of original songs is a collection of stories from the singer’s life that have accumulated and resulted in lessons she has personally learned. By reflecting upon her own individual experiences, Silvano has been observing the consciousness of society as a whole and hopes her perspective will encourage empathy in others towards their communities.

The album opens with “Round and Round”, which is Judi’s statement of appreciation and wonder at her own life. The song’s canonic structure parallels the cycles of life. While “You Will Know” speaks to the interpersonal connections that can have an impact on how we feel about ourselves with encouragement to remember we are not alone, “Dark Things” is about self-doubt, and how even the most confident people periodically question and re-evaluate their paths. “Acknowledging our vulnerability is key to being able to adapt and grow,” says Judi. “Dust” finds Judi in shamanic mode, singing about the earth, our dependence on it for food and how rhythmic feels connect us all over the globe. Some other stand-out tracks from the album include “Hand and Heart” – a beautiful ballad about a very particular relationship – and “After Love” which, simply put, is a classic love song. The album closes with “The Music’s in My Body”, which demonstrates that Judi’s sense of rhythm and space from her years as a dancer, are always a part of her songs.

“Judi Silvano is an amazing vocalist and improviser who has been a mainstay on the New York Jazz scene for decades! Her communication with guitarists Bruce Arnold and Kenny Wessel on “Lessons Learned” is telepathic and the music they create is fresh and inspiring!” -Vic Juris, Guitarist and Educator

MORE ABOUT JUDI SILVANO
Judi Silvano has been an active presence in the New York Jazz scene since 1976, when she arrived in New York City from Philadelphia with a degree in music and dance from Temple University. Since then the roster of musicians with whom she has collaborated includes Kenny Werner, Joe Lovano, Bill Frisell, George Garzone, Mike Formanek, Gerry Hemingway, Michael Abene, Rufus Reid, Ingrid Jensen, Charlie Haden, Jack DeJohnette, Paul Motian, Manny Albam, Gunther Schuller and Wynton Marsalis. She’s performed at a multitude of festivals and concert houses around the globe including the Montreal, Paris, London, Verona, Perugia, Istanbul, Langnau Switzerland and North Sea Jazz Festivals as well as numerous clubs and concert halls in NYC. Silvano has been writing music and poetry her whole life alongside putting her visions on canvas – one of her paintings is the album cover of Lessons Learned and she has a series of paintings of Jazz Musicians in addition to other subjects.

More information at www.judisilvano.com


Have a great week, stay tuned, more coming your way

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