The Michael Smolens Sextet +4,
VQS Live!
The Music of Vivian Quinn Sayles

(Delish Records, 1994)

With Vivian Sayles on piano, the Michael Smolens Sextet provides a wonderful accompaniment of bass, drums, strings and various horns. The album starts off with a very smoldering "Slow Livin'" and ends with another rendition of the same title. The tone and rhythm of the song meets the expectations set from the song title. It has a very sensuous, slow pace which picks up slightly and drops off again, harkening to the expectations of what slow living might sound like musically.

The album is a delightful jazz compilation with much of the improv that accompanies live performances, and Sayles' song titles are extremely descriptive of the music and emotion of each song. For instance, "Lament of the Banshee" begins with the unusual combination of the hammered dulcimer laid over by a seemingly opposite chord from the wind section, but the song delves out into what one can imagine to be the lament of the Celtic sidhe.

For the jazz lover, VQS Live! is a delight to the ear and a wonderment to the senses. Each song will take you to various emotional places and leave you feeling content and pleased at the end.

[ by Jade Falcon ]