Album Review: Penny King Quintet’s “Journey”

Penny King is a fine musician. She brings some masterfully crafted arrangements and treatments to a number of well-known standards, writes some gorgeous vocalese into several pieces and introduces us to some striking composing. Her pitch is excellent, accompanied by a crystal clear and authentic tone. Her soloing is always inventive and she nails the shifts in dynamic intensity superbly and in all the right places. Using full voice to head smoothly without any marked shift in tone. The highlights for me are her originals ‘Journey,’ and ‘Rest Your Head’ and Wayne Shorter’s ‘Footprints’.

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Basic Training: The Pentatonic Scale

Jazz instrumentalists have been incorporating pentatonic scale use into their melodic motifs and soloing explorations and compositions since the very early days of jazz, drawing from the blues. John Coltrane used the scale extensively. As vocalists we’ve also been hearing and using these scales – perhaps not in the same manner as jazz instrumentalists. Nevertheless, we’ve been hearing and singing them for a long time.

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Album Review: Leigh Carriage’s Mandarin Skyline

On first listening, it’s clear that this recording project will speak to listeners outside the mainstream jazz realm. That’s not to say certain aspects and soloistic choices don’t speak with a jazz voice – there’s plenty of that here. This is Leigh Carriage’s first writing and collaborative outing. Considering this entire project was put together in less than 6 weeks, all while juggling a full time teaching position at Southern Cross University where Carriage is vocal director, this album has an almost seamless flow and ethereal quality to it. It’s an outstanding, creative accomplishment.

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