Review – Jennifer DeFrayne – Sisu

Jennifer DeFrayne – SISU:  If piano that helps you in your drive to reach for (and achieve) great things is what your spirit is in need of right now, you will just love Jennifer’s excellent work on this fresh new release!  I first reviewed her in issue # 145, and you can hear her play “Calling Angels” from that album in the video below:

“Sisu” is slated for release on March 3rd, 2017, and the samples just got loaded on Amazon, so the review now includes them… one of the most beautiful songs I’ve heard (yet) in 2017 is “Palo Santo“; the weave of instruments against her purposeful and high-energy keyboard style is most impressive, and will have you listening over and over again to this inspiring 6:20 composition!  The musicians on the album include (Jeff Haynes (percussion), Premik Russell Tubbs (EWI and sax), Michael Manring (bass guitar and ebow), Jill Haley (English horn and oboe), Sara Milonovich (violin and vocals), Jeff Pearce (“ambient” guitar), and Jeff Oster (flugelhorn).  The opener, “Fire Island“, has some wonderful interactions between the players, and Jennifer’s pacing is absolutely perfect… I just loved the subtle percussion from Jeff Haynes on this track.

The album title is a Finnish word that means “to reach beyond their present limitations, take action against all odds and transform struggles into success”… some of her own personal hardships and her ability to overcome them is very easy to hear in one of my personal favorite tunes, “Perseverance” – something we all need in our trying times, and her most worthy goal of personal transformation has certainly been fully realized on this recording!  The horn work from Jeff Oster on the 5:19 “Beyond” will simply blow you away… I predict that you will be hearing a great deal more from Jennifer in the coming months/years.

Jennifer’s resilient spirit shines most brightly (for this reviewer, anyway) on my personal favorite song of the dozen offered up, the title track, “Sisu“… again, the integration of the supporting instruments is just pure magic, and will hold you spellbound for the entire 7:17 length of the song – you won’t find another player that has meshed the instruments with such skill.  There is a healing quality in all of the songs, so it’s easy to declare this beautiful collection as MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, and give it an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.99… be sure and get your copy of this sonic treasure as soon as it hits the street… in the meantime, visit Jennifer’s website.               Rotcod Zzaj

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Dick Metcalf (aka Rotcod Zzaj) is a globe-hopping musician and poet who spent many years roving the world until he finally settled in his current abode, Lacey, Washington… just down the road from Seattle. He started IMPROVIJAZZATION NATION magazine in 1990 (still being published), and Contemporary Fusion Reviews magazine in 2016. He also was a keyboard player & singer for many years… you can hear (and download for free) most of those works at his “Internet Archive Collection