It is easy to regard modern day jazz as no more than the natural accompaniment to a cappuccino and a slice of Sicilian lemon cheesecake with all that musical skill seemingly wasted on the pursuit of the anodyne. There are exceptions, of course, such as Sara Mitra and the ever elegant Holly Cole keeping it classy but are there other artists who can stamp individuality on their music? From the evidence on her “Stories & Rhyme”, it seems that Jasmine Power can.
These four songs float upon a mellow river with exemplary supporting musicianship keeping them floating forever above the turbulence below. Turbulence? And there is turbulence as Ms Power digs deeper into her own psyche with her words than most in the ever polite world of jazz would dare. She follows an oblique path so it can take a couple of listens before you can even track her meaning and then even what seems a simple reflection on relationships – “A Man Or A Boy” – ends up a journey into ever bleaker weather. “Stories & Rhymes”, likewise, embodies that certain playful quirkiness that would make the song ever popular amongst the intelligentsia yet, despite the piano driven eloquence, there is something disquieting as if the actual intention was to sugar coat some inner torment.
The point, therefore, is that these four songs suggest that Jasmine Power knows what people expect of the genre and gives it to them whilst hiding the truth in the shadows between the notes. A connoisseur reveres complexity and, should you have the courage to shine the spotlight, you will find it here.
The EP is available from Bandcamp and is also available on vinyl.