Album review

Jane Siberry
Reprise Records

CMJ New Music Monthly - October 1995
by Steve Ciobattoni

Jane Siberry's voice doesn't keep you on the edge of your seat. Rather, she encourages you to sit way, way back in that soft chair and concentrate on the nuances of her whispers, moans and wordless improvs. The vivid acoustic atmosphere of Maria is a bit of a twist for Siberry, who's been dabbling in more watercolor, electronic and ambient arrangements (most recently heard on RealWorld's Arcane). Surprisingly, with no studio fuss at all, Siberry's voice is just as angelic, fluttering between the bell-like quality of Tim Ray's jazz piano and the slaps and pulses of Chris Thomas' stand-up bass. Drummer Brian Blades (who also plays with sax star Joshua Redman) helps keep everything loose and jazzy as well. If Siberry's songs weren't inspired by impressionist paintings or imagist poetry, they could certainly encourage such art. Her songs are flowing yet articulate, minimal yet lush, childlike yet mature. As a lyricist, Siberry relies on prettiness rather than profundity, but the way she sings a phrase as simple as "It was a snowy night, and our caravan moved along in starlight" makes you think it's the best damn poem you've ever heard. The obvious single "Loving Cup" is the peppiest track among this slightly pensive set, and rounds the full course of emotion provided by Siberry and her pick-up band.

Datalog: Released Aug. 22.
File Under: Smoke-free jazz lounge.
R.I.Y.L.: Sarah McLachlan, June Tabor, Tanita Tikaram