Trombonist Naomi Moon Siegel lives in Montana, but she developed her distinctive voice in the…
Trombonist Naomi Moon Siegel lives in Montana, but she developed her distinctive voice in the creative music scene of her former home base of Seattle. Recorded during Seattle’s Earshot Jazz Festival in 2017, the nine original tunes on this live set are infused with indie folk-rock and Americana, but you immediately get the sense that there’s more going on beneath the surface.
Not that the surface isn’t pleasing enough. Easy gliding rhythms and lilting melodies mark many of these pieces, such as the gently soaring “Electric Flower.” The folksy framework is most evident when guitarist Sean Woolstenhulme engages in twangy, Bill Frisell-style phrases, as he does on the expansive melodies of “Mama Sanchaba.” But Siegel often adds an unexpected element to the mix. Midway through “Punta Uva,” the piece shifts from an introspective chamber atmosphere — driven by Siegel’s warm, held notes — into the dreamlike haze of Woolstenhulme and pianist Wayne Horvitz’s reverb-heavy interplay. A similar dynamic is at play on “Foghorn,” in which alternating harmonious and dissonant group passages suggest a journey through calm and turbulent waters.
Senegalese percussionist Thione Diop adds an extra dimension to two tracks: “Jeannine’s Joy,” a West Africa-meets-indie rock tune highlighted by Woolstenhulme’s blistering solo; and “Jaam Rek,” which opens with a stutter-step rhythm before giving way to laid-back funk led by bassist Geoff Harper’s ostinatos and drummer Eric Eagle’s relaxed backbeat.
Siegel possesses an easy command of her instrument. Her clean, well-articulated lines land on your ears like a warm embrace, particularly on the gentle melodicism of “Ukelady.” She can also convey a subtle sense of disquiet, as her plaintive wails on “Foghorn” demonstrate. Although Horvitz and Woolstenhulme have their moments to shine, it’s the group interaction that propels Siegel’s music. That and the multifaceted nature of her compositions. There’s a mellow exuberance to Siegel’s artistry that grows more and more appealing with each listen.— John Frederick Moore