Jane Ira Bloom: I Got Rhythm But No Melody


I Got Rhythm But No Melody


Jane Ira Bloom (soprano sax)


Mighty Lights (Enja 4044)

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Jane Ira Bloom (soprano sax), Charlie Haden (bass), Ed Blackwell (drums).

Composed by Jane Ira Bloom


Recorded: New York City, November 17 or 18, 1982


Rating: 92/100 (learn more)

The talented and self-reliant Jane Ira Bloom emerged in the late '70s, producing and releasing albums on her own Outline label. Mighty Lights is her third album, and first for an outside label. She's joined on this track by an estimable rhythm section: former Ornette Coleman confreres Charlie Haden on bass and Ed Blackwell on drums.

Given the presence of Haden and Blackwell, one might expect more of an Ornette-ish influence, but the up-tempo "I Got Rhythm But No Melody" has none of the down home qualities characteristic of a Coleman composition. It is, rather, a knotty, harmonically vague and altogether "out" tune, more like something Sam Rivers at his most hyperactive might've concocted. As an improviser, Bloom is busy and not especially lyrical. She sounds a bit callow in contrast with her veteran band mates (her time is not always sure, nor do her ideas always come to a reasonable conclusion), yet she's already exhibiting a pronounced streak of originality. She has a bit of Steve Lacy's dryness of tone and disinclination to play long strings of eighth notes. Rather, like Lacy, she breaks up her line, going in and out of time in a pleasantly unpredictable fashion.

At the time this was recorded in the early '80s, Bloom was establishing herself as a soprano specialist, then as now (and seemingly forever) a rara avis. Since then, she's grown both as an artist and in renown, becoming a perennial poll-winner and one of the most well-respected soprano saxophonists in jazz. This is a fine example of an exemplary artist just coming into her own.

Reviewer: Chris Kelsey

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