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Kerry Politzer | Ruminations

Pianist Kerry Politzer’s eighth album, Ruminations, is more than just a collection of songs; it’s a tapestry woven from the threads of experience. Politzer, a graduate of the prestigious New England Conservatory, brings a depth of knowledge and emotional intelligence to her work, evident in both the selection and execution of her compositions.

The album unfolds like a personal scrapbook. “Hay Ride” evokes a bucolic past, its playful melody reminiscent of childhood summers spent in Maryland. This sense of remembrance continues with “Cudgel,” a poignant tribute to Politzer’s composition mentor and free-jazz pioneer Jimmy Giuffre. Here, Politzer’s piano dances with echoes of Giuffre’s iconoclastic spirit, a testament to the enduring influence of artistic lineage.

But Ruminations is not solely a celebration of the past. Tracks like “Persistent Memory” and “Saída” delve into more introspective territory. Politzer’s use of dissonance and shifting tempos creates a sense of unease, mirroring the complexities of navigating difficult emotions. These introspective moments are balanced by the ethereal beauty of “Faraway Dreams” and the gentle acceptance of “Letting Go.”

The title track, “Ruminations,” serves as a summation of the album’s journey. It’s a piece that lingers, a meditation on the cyclical nature of memory and the human condition.

Politzer is ably supported by a stellar band. Drummer George Colligan provides a nuanced foundation, while saxophonist Tim Willcox and bassist Garrett Baxter weave their own narratives around the piano’s central voice. The interplay between these musicians is a masterclass in collaborative improvisation, creating a dynamic and cohesive listening experience.

Ruminations is a testament to the enduring power of the piano as a vessel for personal expression. Politzer’s compositions are both technically sophisticated and emotionally resonant, offering listeners a glimpse into her artistic world. This is an album that rewards repeat listens, a reminder that the most profound music often emerges from the depths of self-reflection.

Credits:
Kerry Politzer – piano
Tim Willcox – tenor and soprano sax
Garrett Baxter – bass
George Colligan – drums

All compositions by Kerry Politzer (Polimusic, SESAC)
Recorded and mixed by Clay Giberson at his studio
Recording date: December 16, 2023
Mastered by Dana White of Specialized Mastering
Photography: Rachel Hadiashar
Executive Producer: Ryan Meagher
Art by Tiny Little Hammers

Kerry Politzer’s Biography:
Kerry Politzer is a Portland-based jazz pianist, composer, and educator. She is on the music faculty of Portland State University, and she has taught at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Swing University, the University of Portland, and the University of Manitoba. Kerry received a Bachelor of Music from the New England Conservatory of Music, where she studied improvisation and composition with the late jazz guru Charlie Banacos, and a Master of Music from Rowan University.

Prior to Ruminations, Kerry released seven jazz CDs as a leader, including Blue in Blue, which featured saxophonist Donny McCaslin and was termed a “first-rate jazz outing” by AllAboutJazz.com. She has also been a featured sideman on albums of George Colligan, Laura Dreyer, and the Portland Jazz Composers Ensemble and was featured on Sax And The City: Musical Contributions From New York’s Best Women Jazz Instrumentalists (Apria Records, 2004).

In 2019, Kerry was awarded a Regional Arts and Culture Council Artistic Focus grant to explore the music of Brazilian composer Durval Ferreira. The project culminated in the August 2019 release of Diagonal: The Music of Durval Ferreira. Kerry continues to be inspired by Brazilian music.

The pianist has headlined the Montavilla Jazz Festival and performed at other festivals and venues including the 25th Annual Gene Harris Jazz Festival, the Black Dolphin, Jazz Forum, the Oregon Coast Jazz Party, Jazz in the Valley, Smalls, and many others.

Kerry Politzer