Jo Ann Daugherty
Jo Ann Daugherty – Piano
Lorin Cohen – Bass
Ryan Bennett – Drums
Neal Alger – Guitar
Geraldo de Oliviera – Percussion
Felton Offard – Guitar
The superb Bring Joy is expressive pianist Jo Ann Daugherty’s third album as a leader. On its ten captivating tracks, Daugherty demonstrates her singular, mercurial style. The prevailing mood, as suggested in the title, is one of exuberance. This does not mean that the tunes are repetitiously euphoric. In fact, they are dynamic and delightfully variegate with diverse themes exquisitely built within each one.
On the vibrant “Alive,” a Daugherty original, the pianist lays down elegant and jubilant lines with fluidity and deceptive ease. Drummer Ryan Bennett, percussionist Geraldo de Oliviera, and bassist Lorin Cohen create a mesmerizing rhythmic backdrop with their reverberating and rumbling vamps. Guitarist Neal Alger embellishes the melody with passion and fervor, contributing an emotive urgency to this enchanting composition.
Daugherty solos with lilting tones on pianist Abdullah Ibrahim’s sublime “Water From an Ancient Well.” She molds her stimulating improvisation out of a torrent of pealing notes and dense, echoing chords. Her suave and muscular performance flows with subtle but definite virtuosity over her sidemen’s loosely swinging cadence. The warm group play hints at South African folk motifs and resonates with excitement.
Daugherty also wrote the spiritually uplifting “BJ’s Tune.” This bluesy piece features her inventive pianism and her thrilling dexterity on the keys. She matches guitarist Felton Offard’s sinuous, lithe strumming with intricate, wistful, spontaneous phrases. The duet is simultaneously thought provoking and enjoyable.
Cohen’s sensual “Hope For Love” undulates like a tango. Daugherty adds shimmering flourishes to the haunting music with facility and grace. The bassist takes his turn in the spotlight, coaxing a fiery and longing ad lib song from his axe. His extemporization is sophisticated, nimble and buoyant.
The cohesive Bring Joy is a testament to Daugherty’s superlative musicianship and impressive talent. It is brilliant, moving work that appeals to a wide audience. This is a milestone in Daugherty’s relatively short career and a harbinger for what is to yet come from this intriguing artist.
Reviewed by Hrayr Attarian