Moments Like These
'Fern Lindzon is an engaging pianist and singer who brings an unassuming authority, an inquiring spirit and a natural grace to contemporary jazz.' Mark Miller, jazz writer Fern Lindzon's long-awaited debut jazz recording, Moments Like These, has hit the airwaves! This CD of duets with, in turn, Don Thompson on vibes, George Koller on bass and Reg Schwager on guitar, features her as a pianist, vocalist, composer, lyricist and arranger. 'Fern Lindzon has chosen her material, and her collaborators, with unerring instinct. Each piece is musically shaped with great warmth and directness.' Katie Malloch, TONIC, CBC Radio 2 Over the past several months, Fern has appeared on two other new and critically-acclaimed CDs: the Lithuanian Empire's self-titled klezmer CD, which has been described as "pickled herring, bagels & lox, and kugel meet Led Zeppelin, margaritas, and Nils Landgren," and Sheynville Express by Toronto's "premiere all-female Yiddish/Swing/Klezmer sensation," the Sisters of Sheynville. Fern was born in Toronto and educated there at the Royal Conservatory of Music and the Faculty of Music at the University of Toronto. She continued her studies privately with such jazz musicians as Don Thompson and Frank Falco. Fern's eclectic musical interests have kept her extremely busy and much in demand with her jazz trios, in several klezmer bands and as a freelance musician. Her classical education has contributed to her rich, lyrical pianistic sound, and her interest in contemporary music has led to her arrange standards with an exploratory spirit. ************************************************ Moments Like These Liner Notes by Mark Miller Folks - friends, fellow musicians, fans - have been telling Fern Lindzon that there's something very brave about Moments Like These. Daring even. After all, it's her first CD, and here she is playing piano and singing in that most intimate and revealing of settings, the duet, with vibraphonist Don Thompson, guitarist Reg Schwager and bassist George Koller, three of Toronto's finest jazz musicians. Daring indeed. Well, yes, that's certainly one way of looking at it. But here's another: Fern is simply challenging herself, as jazz musicians are won't to do - the good ones, anyway, the ones who understand instinctively that complacency does not complement creativity. That's certainly consistent with the inquiring spirit that Fern has shown throughout her career: classical studies in piano and voice, a degree in music history from the University of Toronto, an introduction to jazz in her early twenties and to Klezmer music more recently, and a thriving career along the way as a pianist and singer for all seasons. The idea of recording with just one other musician at a time is surely the boldest of her challenges on Moments Like These, particularly when that one other musician is capable of offering the level of invention and inspiration that Thompson, Schwager and Koller bring to this warm and engaging CD. So too, in this matter of challenges, is Fern's decision to sing Estate and Where Do You Start?, two songs already recorded near-definitively by Shirley Horn with string orchestra; Fern makes them her own all over again with much, much less. And how about writing lyrics to Wayne Shorter's Infant Eyes? Or creating the vocalese - the lyrics and the free melodic line - of the song Moments Like These as a prelude to Oliver Nelson's Stolen Moments? Or composing a 12-tone blues, TR7, and an allusively Monk-ish You Really Shouldn't, But..., two of the CD's three instrumentals? Or adapting Re'i, a song of reflection in Hebrew, for piano and vibes, and to such ravishing effect at that? Or finding other ways as an arranger to freshen the rest of her repertoire, and other ways as a singer to bring to it new insights? Or exploring those insights even further at the piano, right hand melodically inquisitive and left hand harmonically reassuring? Or ultimately - as challenges go - making a CD that stands with quiet confidence apart from so many other CDs these days by singers, singers who play piano and pianists who sing? Challenges set. Challenges met. Mark Miller Mark Miller was the jazz critic for The Globe and Mail from 1978 to 2005 and is the author of High Hat, Trumpet and Rhythm: The Life and Music of Valaida Snow and seven other books.