I'm proud to present to you my first review of a jazz album. And a very good one I might add. Jennifer Parde is an obviously talented jazz vocalist. Her talents beyond her voice lie strongly in arranging old standards. The few original tunes on her album are definitely strong, but it seems she finds most of her creativity in altering standards with her own twist of "Pardeness".
I also found the production quality to be quite immaculate for a debut album. And the level of musicianship from all who perform is outstanding. Anyone who enjoys listening to good jazz would enjoy this album.
"Morning Has Broken" has great interludes of harmonic expression that are intertwined with the lyrical song. This was the first thing that caught my attention. I also found consistently that Parde shines with the accompaniment of guitarist, Rob Levitt.
Of Parde's original tunes my favorite by far is "Black Unicorn" which is dark, mysterious, and refreshing. I would strongly recommend that Parde spend some more time writing her own tunes. Her lyrics are gems and when the song is good, it's real good. So, I can see much growth in this direction and would also love to see her experiment more with her own tunes as she does on the standards such as "Lazy Afternoon", which has a large improvisational section that moves and changes unexpectedly. Her original tune, "Undertide", starts to explore this more fully.
Overall, Parde has captured a side of jazz music that I have missed. I'm happy to hear the more natural side of jazz, with themes that are more unique than broken hearts and true love. Her music focuses on the mystical and natural, thus the title of her album, "Natural Surreality".