Reviews for Las Sombras
Arizona-born pianist-composer Beth Lederman’s new CD, Las Sombras represents her incredible piano diversity, inventive arrangements, and memorable originals. Beth has led two strong combos during the past decade, the Brazilian-focused Novo Mundo and the newer Jazz con Alma Latin ensemble.
The tracks are enhanced by an A-list of guest artists: Dennis Rowland, Jerry Donato, Mike Crotty, Mary Petrich, Sherry Roberson, Paul Anderson, Joe Garcia, Kay Peper, Todd Chuba, Mike King, Mike Ozuna, and Pete Pancrazi, each adding a diverse element to her stellar core trio of Felix Sainz on bass and Emerson Laffey on drums. This one’s a keeper for serious jazz collectors.
Patricia Myers for www.MusicSceneAZ.com
Any recording is a marker of the artist’s vision at a point in time and Beth Lederman is at a very good place in the arc of her career. Her latest release Las Sombras is a noteworthy landmark in her career as a jazz pianist and composer. Las Sombras offers an intimate perspective of the music Lederman is most committed to; traditional jazz, Latin and Brazilian styles, original compositions, and re-harmonizing traditional melodies.
Lederman has earned genuine respect in her native Arizona and beyond for her unflinching commitment not only to musical excellence, but also to balancing her other equally important roles as a mother, teacher and wife. Las Sombras is a testament to her years of learning, practice and sacrifice condensed into 53 minutes of thoughtful jazz performance.
On Las Sombras, an original composition, Lederman clearly and convincingly demonstrates she has a pianistic “voice”. But Not For Me and Things Ain’t What They Used To Be pay homage to Gershwin and Ellington, showing respect and her ability to interpret these classic charts with a fresh reading. Her original composition Las Sombras, as well as Nature Boy, and Djavan’s Flor De Lis, are sung wonderfully by Kay Peper, highlighting Lederman’s Latin and Brazilian sensibilities and technique. Everything Must Change by Bernard Ighner features a supportive, yet insightful arrangement that gives chanteuse Sherry Roberson all the space required to focus the listener on the lyrics.
“Scarborough Fair” and Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now” are standouts in that these two selections vividly illuminate Lederman’s ability to bring a bright creative vision to this recording. “Scarborough Fair” introduces Indian tablas over an intriguing re-harmonization of the melody. Mary Petrich plays innovative soprano sax lines that evoke a touch of mystery. “Both Sides Now” is a highlight as the only solo performance. Lederman’s interpretation of this famous tune is, in the best sense of the word, elegant.
“Supai Waltz” is the other original composition on this recording. It is a well-conceived piece executed in the traditional trio format. Lederman’s deep, lifelong love of the Southwest can be heard in the subtext of this performance. “Lead The Way” written and sung by jazz guitarist and educator Pete Pancrazi brings out Lederman’s formidable jazz organ chops with a contemporary urgency punctuated by Mike Ozuna’s incisive rhythm guitar.
Any review of a recording is, for better or worse, an exercise in comparisons. This can be severely limiting and risk entirely missing the music itself. Las Sombras is a record that is best understood by listening rather than analysis. And Las Sombras features a wonderful collaboration of talented performers. Mike Crotty, Felix Sainz, Todd Chuba, Emerson Laffey, Joe Garcia, Mary Petrich, Sherry Roberson, Kay Peper, Pete Pancrazi, Mike King, Paul Anderson and Jerry Donato all gave unselfishly of their talent in support of Lederman’s music and creative vision. Every track shows real passion. This is a fine recording that stands on its own merits, no comparisons required.
Kyle Harris, October 9, 2014
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Keeper of the Flame (May 2018). John Hesterman. Remixes. Recorded at Lamont Audio.
Guest appearance on Eric Ramsey’s It’s All Right (2015)
Torch. Artists: Dianna Lee, vocals, and Beth Lederman, piano. Compositions by Ellie Leighton.
Espirito Do Brazil (2002). Artists: Novo Mundo and Beth Lederman. Beth was assistant producer and musician. Recorded for Yemaya Records. Available from iTunes.
A Christmas Collection (2002). Artists: Pete Pancrazi (website music autostarts), guitarist/vocalist, and Beth Lederman, piano.
Se Queres Saber (1999). Artists: Novo Mundo and Beth Lederman. Beth produced and played on this album. Available from iTunes.
With Paul McDermand on Nozzle Nose Records. Spanish Eyes (2002), Still (1999), Sailing (1997), and Romanza (1996).
With Jim Nistico, saxophonist, and the Jazz Express on Live at the San Marcos (2000).
With Ron Jean, guitarist/composer, on Blue Serenity (2000).
For GIA Recording with Rory Cooney, Theresa Donohoo, and Gary Daigle: Stony Landscapes, Vision, Cries of the Spirit, SafetyHarbor, Psalms of the Church Year, and Lost and Found (recorded from 1989 to 1995).
Guest Appearance on Mosaico’s Amor (2003).