Small Dream in Red
A Small Dream in Red is a new CD as well as the name of the group composed of vocalist Nora McCarthy and alto Saxophonist Jorge Sylvester. Inspired by painter Wassily Kandinsky's 1925 master piece of the same name, A Small Dream in Red is a joy of dynamic interplay between two diverse talents. McCarthy's roots include the American songbook, R&B, Brazilian music, Hawaiian folk and in recent years she's embraced - and been embraced by - the avant garde. Sylvester who studied at Karl Berger's legendary Creative Music Studio, has played with everyone from Stefon Harris to Oliver Lake to David Murray and is best know for his integration of Afro-Caribbean rhythms into mainstream and avant garde jazz. The CD captures this formidable duo live at a 2003 concert at Cleveland State University. The five cuts include a beautiful medley of 'Afro Blue/My Romance', Miles Davis' 'All Blues', 'Wanting Memories' by Ysawe Maria Barnwell and an original composition by McCarthy as well as one by Sylvester. The line-up may be minimalist, but the music certainly isn't; both McCarthy and Sylvester have extensive palettes and their nuances of color and conception are a pleasure to behold,. McCarthy's voice stretches and soars and whether she's singing straight ahead, scatting, or simply vocalizing, her voice rings true and clear. Sylvester has a gorgeous tone and a sure touch, plus a wonderful ability to weave in and out of melodies. It's delightful to hear music that plays so freely with the known and the unknown elements of jazz. McCarthy and Sylvester show the utmost respect for the formal elements of music while also possessing the daring to dissolve borders, making A Small Dream in Red an aural adventure of the highest order. NORA McCARTHY and JORGE SYLVESTER combine talents on an intimate vocal/saxophone duet on A SMALL DREAM IN RED (McCarthy 264) (Afro Blue/ My Romance/ Wanting Memories/ All Blues/ Miles Mind/ Akara Moi Moi. 52:12, 1/19/03, Cleveland, OH). McCarthy reinvents several all-time Jazz classics by scatting, singing, and intoning over the free improvisations pouring assertively from Sylvester's tenor. McCarthy delivers with absolute clarity, adding engrossing touches to the melody lines but primarily constructing original versions of the tunes. The performance was captured live at a recital hall, contributing to the great sound on the disc. McCarthy's interpretation of 'My Romance' is filled with new ideas that only use the original Rodgers & Hart melody as an occasional guidepost. Sylvester coats the pathways she carves with freelanced and fully open interpretations of the tunes, hitting high and low notes in juxtaposition or in contrast with the vocals. The two closing numbers are original tunes by each artist and really show off their very personal way of communicating. CADENCE 2/05/05 Nora McCarthis is a New York City creative jazz vocal artist, composer, lyricist and poet. Her experience and influences range from straight-ahead jazz, classic jazz, post bop, contemporary jazz, r&b, blues, funk, Afro-Caribbean to the avant-garde and free music genres. Among her most influential mentors and collaborators she lists: legendary bassist Juini Booth (McCoy Tyner's Journey to Enlightenment) and alto saxophonist, Jorge Sylvester (MusiCollage, 1996 Postcard Records and In The Ear of the Beholder, 2001, Jazz Magnet Records). 1996 McCarthy formed a group with pianist, John di Martino, bassist, Essiet Okon Essiet, drummer, Alvester Garnet, percussionist, Sato-Takeishi and tenor saxophonist, Mike Lee that resulted in a CD - red&blue. This CD, released in 1996, has post-bop overtones and is comprised of 9 songs, 7 of which are McCarthy's originals. In 1999, Nora formed a partnership with alto-saxophonist/composer Jorge Sylvester and currently they co-lead several groups: an expressionist avant-garde voice and saxophone duet, A Small Dream In Red, (a CD with the same name of a live recording was released in 2005 through Cadence North Country); a 20-piece orchestra, ConceptualMotion; and, the ACE Collective. In March, 2000, Nora toured with the rhythm and blues legend Wilson Pickett as a member of his band the Midnight Movers and also in 2000, Nora was featured in trombonist Kuumba Frank Lacy's 'Vibe Tribe' and Benny Russell's/Jorge Sylvester's Next Legacy Jazz Orchestra. Ms. McCarthy studied voice and piano and at Cleveland State University, Cleveland Music Settlement and briefly at Cleveland Institute of Music. In 2002, Nora received a scholarship from New School University for Jazz Vocal Performance. Nora is also a member of master conductor, Butch Morris', A Chorus of Poets. JORGE SYLVESTER alto-saxophonist, conductor, composer, arranger born in Colon, Panama attended the Panama Conservatory of Music and the University of Panama. He received a Bachelor of Science in Music from the State University of New York College at New Paltz in 1981. A unique innovator in the idiom of creative music, Sylvester's sound is reminiscent of another time in jazz history when artists like Dolphy and Ornette were exploding on the scene and experimenting with concepts that would ultimately revolutionize music at large. A throwback to the future, Mr. Sylvester has been on the cutting edge of that scene since 1980 when he first came to New York City. His blend of African-Caribbean Rhythms with new music is what gives Sylvester his distinguished voice. An impressive composer and arranger, his music moves, entices and stirs the imagination, as visual as it is physical, his ability to transform colors into sounds and sounds into textures place him in the company of the great expressionist painters. Heading for Europe in his early twenties, Sylvester spent ten years touring and recording with his ensembles and as a freelancer. Upon his arrival to New York, he studied with Dave Holland, Oliver Lake, Steve Lacy, Ramsey Ameen, Marion Brown and many others at vibraphonist Karl Berger's Creative Music Studio in Woodstock. Since that time, Sylvester has performed with such notables as Stefon Harris, Rodney Kendrick, Karl Berger, David Murray Big Band, Sekou Sundiata, the Black Rock Coalition Orchestra, the Oliver Lake Big Band, Kuumba Frank Lacy's Vibe Tribe, the Next Legacy Orchestra, Joe Bowie's Defunkt Big Band and most recently with Nora McCarthy with whom he co-leads several groups, writes and records.