There have been compositions in jazz dedicated to members of musicians’ families, often children or parents, but the theme of this album concerns an area of life seldom covered in jazz, although readers are sure to correct me on this point. It reflects the response of composer and pianist Cathlene Pineda to the periods of motherhood and family life she has experienced, often with conflicting emotions and challenges.
Most of the tracks have a similar format – “mini” suites, in which the sections change in tempo, character and emphasis. Some are contemplative, tranquil and serene, others more expressive and turbulent, but all exploratory.
The opening number, 1Nine, is a good example of this; a four part opus whose movements are mainly soft, sensitive and sometimes mesmeric, but with a lively, energetic coda. Trumpeter Kris Tiner is inventive in his interpretation of the music, using soft muted tones which contrast with his more forceful open flourishes to alter the atmosphere and feeling.
Pineda’s piano weaves patterns, taking control through her solos but generally making her presence felt in creating interesting backcloths on which solos are positioned, often maintaining momentum through vamping, her chords giving an effective urgency.
There is a close connection between trumpet and piano, following each other and even playing in unison (on Wonder Weeks), not dissimilar from Keith Jarrett’s approach when operating at close quarters with a horn. Other passages shift into brief free-form, but very soon these are calmly pulled back into the structure by Pineda, usually quietly but occasionally more decisively.
It is a mixture of emotions – joy, elation, sombre sorrow, contemplation and anxiety, but it isn’t necessarily essential to know the personal stories behind the works as the depth of feeling and the energy of the compositions can be appreciated on any level, as witnessed on the hypnotic and insistent Collective Memory.
1Nine; Rainbow Baby; Milo; Wonder Weeks; Wild Geese ll; Wild Geese lV; Carriers l; Carriers ll; The Collective Memory (66.30)
Pineda (p); Kris Tiner (tp); David Tranchina (b); Tina Raymond (d). Unknown date, California. Released June 2020.