Jane Ira Bloom: A More Beautiful Question


A More Beautiful Question


Jane Ira Bloom (soprano sax, live electronics)


Mental Weather (Outline OTL139)

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Jane Ira Bloom (soprano sax, live electronics),

Dawn Clement (keyboards), Mark Helias (bass), Matt Wilson (drums)


Composed by Jane Ira Bloom


Recorded: New York, June 2007


Rating: 88/100 (learn more)


How many people do you know who've had an asteroid named after them? If you knew Jane Ira Bloom, you'd know one. I have no clue why the asteroid was named after her. But a good guess would be because she has made a name for herself by connecting her saxophone to spaced-out electronic effects devices. Over the years, this has allowed her to use echo and looping to produce orchestral sounds from her singular horn.

The credits indicate that Bloom plays "live electronics" on this album as well. They are hardly heard. Instead, we are offered the purer tones from Bloom. To me, this is very welcome. "A More Beautiful Question" is an achingly slow ballad. Melancholy is its main theme. Bloom plays in both the low and high register. She has a mastery over timbre that allows her sax to speak the words of the forlorn. Clement is also quite good during her understated solo. Veteran bassist Helias provides the necessary texture throughout. This satisfying tune would be a trio performance if it were not for the solitary beat that percussionist Wilson ends it on.

In a bit of creative thinking, Bloom has attached an MP3 file to the CD. The MP3 contains a continuous performance of most of the tunes done live as if the band were performing in concert. It is a different take on these very fine compositions, and is a welcome and forward-thinking addition.

Reviewer: Walter Kolosky

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  • 1 Thomas Cunniffe // May 27, 2009 at 12:35 PM
    The reason that Jane has an asteroid named after her is that she was the first musician included in NASA's arts program. She's written several pieces that were inspired by her studies of space travel, including one for wind ensemble, which has the instrumentalists moving their horns side to side, imitating the Doppler effect that Jane incorporated into her solo style.