|Ani DiFranco — Evolve|
Ani DiFranco — Evolve
■ 2003 GRAMMY award winner for best packaging (Brian Grunert). Album nebylo příliš dobře hodnoceno. Pouze Billboard dává (favorable), Blender 4/5 stars, Chicago Tribune (favorable) a Drowned in Sound (8/10). Není to lehké písničkářství,
spíše odvážnější, u nás má k ní nejblíže Jana Šteflíčková. ■ Vyprávečsky naprosto suverénní, hlasově i zvládnutím kytarové hry — prakticky dokonalé. Jako vzor bych vyzvedl píseň “Shrug”. Od písně “Here For Now” to už je pak jenom exhibice. Score: ■■■■■
Location: Buffalo, NY
Album release: March 11, 2003
Record Label: Righteous Babe
01. Promised Land 4:30
02. In The Way 5:18
03. Icarus 4:52
04. Slide 3:51
05. O My My 4:00
06. Evolve 4:16
07. Shrug 4:42
08. Phase 3:43
09. Here For Now 3:10
10. Second Intermission 3:52
11. Serpentine 10:27
12. Welcome To 4:58
Japanese bonus track:
12. “Your Next Bold Move (live version from the movie “Render”)”
■ All songs by Ani DiFranco
■ 2003 The Billboard 200 #30
■ 2003 Top Independent Albums 200 #1
■ 2003 Top Internet Albums #30
■ 2003 Best Recording Package, Ani DiFranco/Brian Grunert WINNER
■ Ani DiFranco — guitar, piano, vocals
■ Ravi Best — trumpet, vocals
■ Shane Endsley — trumpet
■ Daren Hahn — percussion, drums
■ Todd Horton — trumpet, flugelhorn
■ Jason Mercer — bass
■ Hans Teuber — clarinet, flute, saxophone, vocals
■ Julie Wolf — organ, piano, vocals, clavinet, melodica, Fender Rhodes
■ Producer — Ani DiFranco
■ Engineers — Andrew Gilchrist, Mark Hallman, Marty Lester
■ Mixing — Ani DiFranco
■ Mastering — Greg Calbi
■ Design — Ani DiFranco
■ Photography — Eric Frick
■ Art direction — Brian Grunert
■ Throughout her career, Ani has never shied from pursuing new musical directions. On Evolve the singer/songwriter/guitarist continues to grow, incorporating a wide spectrum of sounds and ideas with the restless energy of a born innovator.
■ “I’m especially excited about this record,” Ani said, “‘cause it’s a realization of all of the work put in with my band, of a vision that developed along the way.” Ani’s evolution as a producer and arranger is evident throughout; the record is a seamless blend of lush, vibrant textures, courtesy of the talented and versatile musicians who toured with her for several years before her recent return to performing solo: Julie Wolf on keyboards, Hans Teuber on flute and reeds, Jason Mercer on bass, Daren Hahn on drums and Todd Horton, Ravi Best and Shane Endsley on brass. Ani’s as comfortable as ever with her fellow musicians, and vice versa — Evolve is a carefully–crafted studio creation that still possesses the loose spontaneity of a live show.
■ “We developed our own vocabulary, our own aesthetic over the years,” Ani said. “There wasn’t a lot of precedent for what we were doing — we came from a lot of different places: jazz music, rock bands ... It was an interpretive collective that involved a lot of me just listening, picking up on what they brought to the table.”
■ In between the gentle opening tones of “Promised Land” and the hushed closing chords of “Welcome To: “the record encompasses a variety of styles, from soaring three–part harmonies and DiFranco’s trademark acoustic fireworks to horn– and clavinet–driven funk and syncopated Latin grooves. “Serpentine” is a sprawling, 10–minute opus rooted in Ani’s solo finger–picking work and passionate spoken word performance.
■ When asked about the origin of the album title, Ani explains that “by the time I was recording the last few songs on the album, I felt like I was evolving — I wanted the album to open up a little bit and get out of that band–focused phase. Songs like “Evolve” and “Serpentine” are pointing in the direction that I’m going now, finding my own voice in the wilderness of all of those people. This record represents the culmination of a certain musical era, and it gives a little glimpse of what’s to come.”
■ Favoring whispers over screams and delicate, open chords over power strumming, Evolve takes an intimate look at a world as determined to change as the singer herself.
■ As a singer, songwriter, activist and independent entrepreneur, Ani DiFranco has been setting her own pace — and encouraging countless admirers to do the same — for more than 20 years. But while she has been known as the “Little Folksinger,” her music has grown far beyond her acoustic solo roots in cozy venues to embrace jazz, soul, electronica and even more distant sounds. All of which are featured in DiFranco’s new Righteous Babe release, Allergic To Water, where she also blends abstract imagery and deceptively understated melodies with personal reflections on her life in New Orleans where she is now raising her two children with her partner, producer Mike Napolitano.
■ “It’s such a humbling, and grueling, thing to raise children,” DiFranco said. ■ “And that makes playing music more precious and makes me more grateful. It’s a real balancing act, but it also has a balancing effect.”
■ DiFranco adds that becoming a mother has brought her closer to listeners who have followed her music since she began performing in New York City during the early 1990s. But widespread attention never prevented her from holding on to her integrity, and independence. A strong belief in human rights has run throughout her work, including when she played at numerous benefit concerts around the world. At a time when record labels still held an oversized influence, DiFranco stood ahead of the curve in launching her own Righteous Babe Records. The company has released more than 20 of her albums to date, ranging from the popular two–disc live album, Living In Clip (1997), to the expansive To The Teeth (1999), which included such guests as legendary R&B saxophonist Maceo Parker and Prince. Journalist Sylvie Simmons wrote in the British music magazine MOJO in 1998, “Even if her overt politicism and her 200–shows–per–year tours with an acoustic guitar place her in the Woody Guthrie tradition, her music — which has boldly plundered funk or punk, hip hop, rock — doesn’t.”
■ Some stellar traditional New Orleans musicians and jazz players contributed to her 2012 disc, Which Side Are You On?, and the Crescent City also informs Allergic To Water, which is one of her most intimate and musically expansive recordings. This autumn, DiFranco will tour internationally behind Allergic To Water and the disc’s high–profile guests will accompany her stellar trio of bassist Todd Sickafoose and drummer Terence Higgins on several stops. Violinist Jenny Scheinman will open and sit in at some points. DiFranco has also marked other career milestones this past year. This summer she returned to the Winnipeg Folk Festival, where she received their prestigious Artistic Achievement award, coupled with her first ever honorary doctorate, which was given to her by the University of Winnipeg. She also marked the passing of one of her own mentors, Pete Seeger, through writing a moving essay about the man and his legacy in the Wall Street Journal.
■ “I think that my one grain of wisdom in my life, which serves me well, is that when I meet a great teacher, I follow them,” DiFranco said. “I invent excuses to be near them. Whether it’s Pete, Utah Phillips, or Sekou Sundiata, it’s made my life pretty great along the way.”
|Ani DiFranco — Evolve|
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