Kari Van Der Kloot – Window (ENG review)

Tpr records – Street date May 3rd 2024
Kari Van Der Kloot – Window (ENG review)

10 original compositions. A text by Pablo Neruda, as you may have guessed, this album is aimed at the well-read minds, and certainly not those with a smartphone implanted in their hand instead of a brain. Here, every word is weighed, every sound filtered, there is no room for chance, only for thought, reflection, and poetry. This album features an exceptional cast of musicians based in New York: flutist Elsa Nilsson, keyboardist Jamie Reynolds, bassist Gary Wang, and drummer Nathan Ellman-Bell. It’s a group that has been working together for years, and it certainly shows. The impressive flutist Elsa Nilsson offers heaps of impressive musical proposals, on very urban and contemporary works that struggle to hide the long hours spent studying Bartok or Ravel, just like jazz theory and counterpoint, musicians who fascinate with their knowledge and the way they transpose it into these works.

Many of these songs were written during the early days of the pandemic in New York: Kari’s deeply personal lyrics reflect the difficult balance between isolation and the needs of a community, as well as the growth that can result from periods of solitude. Totem is inspired by the work of Ruth Bader Ginsberg and features a whirlwind of fast-moving chords with fleeting moments of repetition. The song Trust Exercise explores trust issues while presenting a mysterious and elusive introduction of layered flutes and voices. Sprout shows the ensemble communicating at its best, revisiting past traumas and the growth they inspire. The album culminates with Keeping Quiet, a musical setting of Pablo Neruda’s poem A callarse. A superb duo between Kari and pianist Jamie Reynolds, Neruda’s text implores us to take the time to be silent in our lives.

Once again I find myself faced with a singular work, Kari van der Kloot’s touching voice, storyteller, poet, perhaps even a painter of her deep thoughts, the arrangements of the tracks follow the perpetual intellectual movement, we explore the inner universes that are offered to us, we remember that pandemic period, being in Europe at the time, unable to move around, the birds no longer flew, they walked on the road… Time suspended, so well described on this album, this suspended time, this time that floated in a form of nothingness, all we could do was contemplate nature in action in a deafening silence.

What I particularly like about Kari van der Kloot is not only her voice, but also her ability to impose a style that is unlike anyone else’s. Kari has shared the stage with musicians such as Seamus Blake, Kenji Omae, Michael Attias, Lauren Falls, Jamie Reynolds, Melissa Stylianou, May Cheung, Ernesto Cervini, Ted Quinlan, Mike Downes, Lisanne Tremblay, and many others. She holds a master’s degree in jazz vocal performance from Queens College in New York, as well as a bachelor’s degree in jazz vocal performance from the University of Toronto.

So, and only if you want to experience a sound and vocal, but also intellectual, experience, and only in this case, this album will be totally indispensable to you, punctuated by a voice that seems to settle on each track amidst the other instruments to make them bounce back even better…

Thierry De Clemensat
USA correspondent – Paris-Move and ABS magazine
Editor in chief Bayou Blue Radio, Bayou Blue News

PARIS-MOVE, April 12th 2024

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