Music Reviews
Sara Caswell

Sara Caswell

The Way To You

Anzic Records

Time flies when you’re an in-demand session musician in New York. Before relocating to the Big Apple from Indiana, Sara released two well-received solo albums, First Song and But Beautiful. In the 17 years she’s been in New York, Sara has worked on sessions for everyone from Esperanza Spalding to Bruce Springsteen and collaborated with players as diverse as Henry Threadgill and Chuck Owen and the WDR Big Band. Sara has been leading her own quartet for the past decade and has finally found time to record The Way to You with them.

The album opens with a lyrical flight called “South Shore,” written for the group by Australian composer Nadje Noordhuis. The song has a free-flowing lyricism that reminds me of some of Ralph Towner’s best work with Oregon. The lyrical flights continue with a joyous rendition of Egberto Gismonti’s “7 Ameis.” Along the way, we’re treated to three Caswell originals, including the Bill Frizell inspired “Last Call.” The album closes with more Brazilian vibes on Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “O Que Tinha de Ser.” On this song, Caswell plays the Scandinavian Hardanger fiddle, a violin/viola hybrid with five sympathetic strings beneath the fingerboard.

Caswell and her quartet are joined by vibraphone and marimba player Chris Dingman on four songs. His contributions give these songs an added depth and melodicism that is most welcome. I’d like to hear more from Dingman and Caswell, when time permits.

Sara Caswell


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