JODI PROZNICK With LAILA BIALI
Jodi Proznick’s latest album Sun Songs (released on the Cellar Live label in 2017) invites the listener into a musical experience that explores the depths of and reverence for the dualities of life.
This project is a new venture for Jodi as a composer, bassist, producer, and songwriter, who soon after her album Foundations was nominated for a Juno Award, was faced with two sets of emotionally charged news: first, the immense joy of discovering she was expecting a baby and would enter the brave new world of motherhood, and second the intense sorrow of learning that her mother was diagnosed with early onset dementia (Jodi’s mother passed away from dementia in January 2018 after a ten year struggle with the disease).
The title for Sun Songs is a play on words. First, it’s a dedication to her son, and second, the metaphor of life as sunrise and sunset. As if she was standing on the horizon watching two suns simultaneously rise and fall, both lighting up the sky in different ways. These are the polarities explored through each song: birth, death, the learning and unlearning of life, and the emotions that arise in its quieter moments.
Jodi found herself documenting words, images, and melodies to help process the titanic emotions transpiring through her as the story unfolded. A collection of songs emerged, eight originals and one cover, in a narrative documenting the process of containing these dramatic dualities and emerging more resilient and in tune with the pendulum of life.
In the land where jazz and pop meet, two genres that have always been intrinsically woven together, Sun Songs becomes the template for a new weave. Every track is an exquisite tapestry of modern harmonies and rhythms, layered with memorable melodies and potent lyrics. Featuring her prodigious quartet of Tilden Webb (her husband) on piano, Jesse Cahill (drums), and Steve Kaldestad (tenor saxophone), Jodi shines an even brighter light on this album with the addition of singer Laila Biali, whose luminous vocals lift the songs to unparalleled heights.
Sun Songs opens with “Listen” and “Beautiful Again”, a song about the miracle of birth, inspired by indigenous author Richard Van Camp’s children’s book “Welcome Song for Baby.” The impeccable “Let Go” follows, a lullaby for her mother, and “Little Bluebird”, which marks the calm before the storm. “Ancient Yearning” pulls from a poem by Vancouver poet, dancer, and scholar Celeste Snowber in which her lines weave with a melody that is primal and revealing. And while songs “Storm” and “3 am” encapsulate moments of panic and worry amidst the struggle of modern-day life, the story weaves back to hope in “So Near, So Far” which reflects on staying connected to loved ones that have passed on. Sun Songs closes with Stephin Merritt’s “The Book of Love,” originally covered by Peter Gabriel, and brings the listener full circle through of a woman’s journey in love.
A stalwart on the Vancouver jazz scene as a performer and educator, Jodi Proznick is undoubtedly the perfect person to bring this work to light. Infinitely talented as a songwriter, producer, and player, she is also a mentor for the next generation of jazz musicians. Sun Songs represents the unbridled potential of every woman’s most powerful contribution – her story. In fact, the album may become a beacon for other artists aspiring to share their own stories with the world. Inside each song, a radiant beauty echoes, and there’s a gateway to the many different ways we can all light up the sky.
MAY 23, 2019
JODI PROZNICK W. LAILA BIALI
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