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  • Jonathan Widran

OLIVIA FOSCHI, Fleeting Windows

In 2015, just as her career as an in-demand performer was taking off in the wake of her critically acclaimed debut album Perennial Dreamer, Olivia Foschi found herself at a unique crossroads when she gave birth to twin boys.

Faced with the choice of two different lives in light of all the new responsibilities, some artists might go on a long, family related hiatus. Blessedly for the jazz world, the San Francisco born, Italian raised vocal interpreter extraordinaire chose a creative hybrid path, joining forces with a batch of hand-selected top flight musicians (including multi-Grammy winning pianist/keyboardist Gil Goldstein and drummer/producer Ulysses Owens, Jr.) to create a divine tribute to the joys, challenges and fine art of motherhood.

The singer’s theme extends to the album cover art, which finds a woman and two tykes in shadow, holding hands – as if she’s leading them on a mysterious journey. She creates a frolicsome, full day “mom journal” via a mix of vibrant originals (from the hypnotic, moody soul-jazz gem “Due to Wake Up Soon” through the brassy, briskly swinging and scat-filled “Tiny Toes”) and well-chosen, sometimes delightfully offbeat songs ripe for her stirring re-imaginings – including Kenny Kirkland and Sting’s intimate and reflective “Dienda” and an exotic, deeply percussive whirl through “Look For The Silver Lining,” featuring her tapping out a beat on her kitchen table while singing it to her boys.

Two other non-originals, a muscular, horn filled romp through “Firefly” and tender, lyrical “My Life,” are included in tribute to her friend, the late bassist Chris White, Jr. As explosive as Foschi’s scat can be, her unique dense-rhythm vocalizations at the start of “Firefly” (using a South Indian form of percussion syllables known as Konnakol) add an even more fascinating touch of playful whimsy.

As per the cover art, there are some darker, haunting textures throughout, but Olivia chooses to close on a lighthearted note, going full-on scat for a spirited stroll through Michel Petrucciani’s bright, optimistic samba “Looking Up.”  

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