Kirsten Edkins – Shapes and Soud (ENG review)

Cohearent Records – Street Date January 22th 2024
Kirsten Edkins - Shapes and Soud (ENG review)

For her second album, saxophonist Kirsten Edkins enlisted the mastering engineer Kevin Gray. This album was recorded using all the analog and tube equipment that Gray meticulously built over the past 17 years. The group recorded live in a room designed by Gray with the same attention to detail as Rudy Van Gelder’s Blue Note Hackensack studio.
Clearly, this is what gives this album its “live” quality, and the roundness of the sounds that are reminiscent of certain recordings from the 1960s made with Studer mixing consoles – very warm sounds that will delight all well-equipped Hi-Fi enthusiasts who want to savor this elegant performance by the group, composed of Gerald Clayton on piano, Ahmet Turkmenoglu on bass, Lemar Guillary on trombone, and Chris Wabich on drums, giving life to a diverse collection of mainly original compositions. And if you like LPs, you can order this album directly here.
Undoubtedly, Charlie Parker whispered a few notes at the cradle of this artist who incorporates all the codes of classic or even historical jazz, infusing it with her own soul. The result is vibrant, creating the impression of being in familiar territory. However, upon a second listen, one realizes that it’s Kirsten’s originality that captivates us, both in her musical writing and arrangements, as everything here is refined and elegant, decidedly acoustic – a true pleasure that, I believe, will be the same in concert.
Asked about her process, composer and musician Kirsten Edkins emphatically states that her goal is to “make good music.” For her, that means the music’s reach should extend beyond “jazz fans.” The music on this album, she emphasizes, draws inspiration from jazz, focusing on the “feel,” but above all on the universal language of a strong, listenable, tangible, and catchy melody.
Kirsten describes her musical journey of twenty-five years (the last fifteen of which included collaborations with highly notable groups in Los Angeles) as an effort to create her own distinct personality and voice as a jazz musician. This album captures one of the things that captivated her from the beginning—the excitement of hearing musicians perform live. Here, she endeavors to attract the audience and share the personality, texture, and nuance of the performance. Just as the apparent imperfection of a reed’s cry on a Stan Getz album beguiled her, she chooses not to isolate the audience from the reality of musicians making music.
One could say that this album is a true “favorite” for the editorial teams of Bayou Blue Radio and Paris-Move. It is available only on LP or on the usual download platforms.

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

PARIS-MOVE, January 5th 2024