Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Dreams May Take You Press Highlights

Since its initial release in April, three diverse and established jazz writers have written reviews of my debut album, Dreams May Take You.

First was a thrilling surprise by Will Friedwald in the Wall Street Journal on May 25, 2012:

...Emily Asher's Garden Party, which is a deliberately prosaic name deviously calculated to describe a very exciting combo. In traditional jazz, the trombone comes closest to the human voice, although up to now it's rarely been cast as a distinctly female voice. On her new album, "Dreams May Take You," Ms. Asher plays with both grit and grace, cooing lovingly but firmly on Louis Armstrong's cautionary tale, "Someday You'll Be Sorry," then growling and barking like an obstinate chihuahua on the Latinate "Great Big Wall."

The trombone solo on Great Big Wall is played by the great Wycliffe Gordon.  :)

Next was a very comprehensive review by the insightful and prolific jazz blogger Michael Steinman of JazzLives on May 31, 2012.  Here are a few hightlights, but please visit JazzLives to read the entire thorough review: 

The CD’s title comes from an Asher original — by Emily’s father — called LULLABY FOR A LITTLE ONE, on which Miss Asher sings with winsome charm.  (And she knows when to leave an audience wanting more: the LULLABY is a delicious cameo, slightly over two minutes.)  It’s followed by a New Orleans “second line” version of CHANGES MADE, which would cause the sedentary to start dancing.  The original SWEET PEA is part cowboy-ballad, part rocking barcarolle, with touches of Fifties West Coast cool arranging.  HEY, LOOK ME OVER is Emily’s childhood party piece — which begins in an easy waltz-time before morphing into sleek swing — that won me over when I saw her do it (with apt choreography) at Radegast....SOMEDAY YOU’LL BE SORRY, taken at a brisk clip, is another trombone-piano outing, very delicate in its earnestness, with a straight-from-the-shoulder vocal by Emily, taking the lyrics with a gentle seriousness that would have pleased its creator.

Nothing’s dull or forced on this CD: it’s one of those rare creations where you want to play it over again when it ends.

And most recently, Joe Lang for the Jersey Jazz Magazine June/July 2012:

One of the pleasant developments on the current New York City area jazz scene is the revival of interest in classic jazz by many younger jazz musicians.  One of the brightest stars to emerge from this scene is the impressive trombonist EMILY ASHER.  For her initial album as a leader Dreams May Take You (Emily Asher – No Catalog Number), she has gathered Wycliffe Gordon on trombone and Sousaphone, Bria Skonberg and Philip Dizak on trumpets, Dan Levinson on tenor sax and clarinet, Will Anderson on alto sax, Nick Russo on guitar and banjo, Kelly Friesen and Rob Adkins on bass, Kevin Dorn and Rob Garcia on drums, and Gordon Webster on piano.  These musicians are used in various combinations, all of them with fine results.  Asher adds an occasional pleasant vocal with Skonberg joining in on the vocal fun for “On the Sunny Side of the Street.”  The tunes are mostly what Louis Armstrong used to call “the good old good ones” like “There’ll Be Some Changes Made,” “Muskrat Ramble” and “Limehouse Blues.”  Asher has included a couple of catchy originals, as well as a song written by her father in anticipation of the arrival of his first grandchild, “Lullaby for a Little One.”  Asher has performed for NJJS several times now, and all of the fans that she has developed will certainly want to latch onto this joyous disc. 

Thank you to all three of these gentleman for taking the time to listen to the album and write thoughtfully!  

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