Myriam Alter: Was It There


Was It There


Myriam Alter (leader)


Where Is There (Enja/Justin Time JENJ 3331-2)

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Myriam Alter (leader),

Pierre Vaiana (soprano sax), John Ruocco (clarinet), Salvatore Bonafede (piano), Jaques Morelenbaum (cello), Greg Cohen (bass), Joey Baron (drums)


Composed by Myriam Alter


Recorded: Zerkall, Germany, August 2007


Rating: 88/100 (learn more)

Though it does happen, it is not too often an album comes out under the name of someone who doesn't even perform on it. In this case that someone is Belgian composer Myriam Alter. It is an interesting story, really. Alter had been outside the music business for years studying psychology, overseeing a dance school and even working for an ad agency. At age 36, she decided to get back into the fray and formed a jazz band with herself on piano. But beginning in 1997 she focused on composing, eschewing playing, and has put out three albums using this model. For Where Is There she gathered a cast of international musicians to interpret her latest works.

The album is thematic in nature. However, individual tunes may be listened to without any loss of effectiveness. "Was It There" offers an empathetic piano as introduction. Arabian scales and percussion runs soon dominate and create the framework of the piece. An unmistakable "Caravan" vibe takes over. The tune is calmer than that classic, but it is a slower trip to the same place. John Ruocco and his clarinet enjoy the most space. The clarinet's deep and alluring sounds beckon us to come along. This music is a successful attempt at melding world music, folk and jazz.

Reviewer: Walter Kolosky

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