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