On "Today" Louise Alexandra (fka Van Aarsen) presents a brand new collection of original tunes, inspired by life and love, stories that are accordingly diverse in arrangement, rhythm and feel. The few jazz standards included on this album have an original twist.
Rebecca Parris once again directed the recording sessions (at Peter Kontrimas' PBS Studios in Westwood, MA) but sadly did not live to see this project come to fruition. Yet, her strong presence in the production can be heard...along with the amazing band: Paul McWilliams (piano), Fernando Huergo (bass), Martin Vazquez (drums), Mike Turk (harmonica) and Bill Vint (sax). Doug Hammer plays piano on selected tracks and mastered the production.
Vocalist Miriam Waks is featured on two songs. One of Louise's three talented daughters, Mae van Aarsen (who designed the album cover!) is also featured. Backing vocals by Sue Sheriff & Debbie Lane.
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WHAT PEOPLE SAY ABOUT TODAY
"With 'Today' Louise Alexandra (fka Louise Van van Aarsen) has fully arrived...a smart collection of carefully crafted standards and memorable originals that bring her art into sharp focus, and leave the listener inspired and moved"
(C Michael Bailey)
"..great composer...I am so impressed with every song, each so different from the next. In theme, arrangement, story telling, all of it. Really nice work.."
(Susan 'Greenberg' Silvestrone)
From Destiny to Today...(...)...can only be considered an evolution from one firmly established place to the next higher order of the same. On Today, Alexandra retains her favor of the Latin clave, seasoning the disc liberally with that humid drive. Alexandra's is a heart informing the head, one that is cerebral as it is organically creative. In her lyrics, Alexandra looks forward and backward like a genius Janus in triumph. She displays this amply on the contemporary-tinged "Chain of Life," the hectic and balladic "Busy Days," and the keenly sharp "Rewind" where the realization of loss is tempered with the knowledge that "if" is only a word that passes not into the future. The instrumentation is rendered with grace.
Alexandra includes thoughtfully presented standards as two diptychs and one standalone. "Nature Boy" is cleverly coupled with "Everything Must Change," creating an integrated whole where the shaman admonishes with the obvious that the present cannot remain static while the change is often slowly realized. Bill Vint's tenor saxophone adds an air of wistfulness and knowing. More challenging and profound is the mashup of John Coltrane's "Naima" with Hoagy Carmichael's "Skylark." The Coltrane melodic line is reduced to an ether blown through the performance by Vint's tart alto saxophone (its tone in search of Paul Desmond's spirit). The collection's coda, Bert Kaempfert and Milt Gabler's Nat King Cole vehicle "L-O-V-E" is a duet with Alexandra's daughter Mae van Aarsen (who was also responsible for the cover photograph and graphic design), who more than holds her own with her mother. What could have been a syrupy indulgence is rather a triumph of the mother-child experience, swinging with a whiplash momentum.
The crowning achievement of the disc is the ballad "You Are In Everything." The piece begins and ends with a metronome clicking, that directional heartbeat of musical constancy. In between, Alexandra observes and personifies the spirit of music and memory while Vint accents with his seamless tenor saxophone. A certain liturgy reveals itself at the end of the coda metronome, a barely heard voice speaking with love and command. This is no ghost, but a guiding spirit and memory of goodness and grace: just like all of Today.
-- C MICHAEL BAILEY, Senior Contributor at All About Jazz.
For the full review, click this link
CD you should know about. The last album singer Rebecca Parris produced before she passed in 2018 was this one for singer-songwriter Louise Alexandra. Anyone who was friendly with Rebecca or heard her sing live or has her albums knows how exquisite her taste was. Her musical decisions on this album, recorded between 2015 and 2018, resulted in a beautiful recording by Louise. I love her voice, a wonderful way to kick off the new year.
-- MARC MYERS, Award-winning jazz blogger (WSJ and Jazzwax.com)
For the full review, click this link