|Jenny Scheinman ≡ Mischief & Mayhem (2012)|
Jenny Scheinman — Mischief & Mayhem
Born: 8 June 1979, Jacksonville, Florida, United States
Origin: Petrolia, California ~ a remote area of Humboldt County near Cape Mendocino and currently resides in New York City
Genres: Jazz, country, folk Style: Experimental Rock/Modern Jazz/Avant–Garde Jazz/Alternative/Indie Rock/Jazz–Rock
Occupations: Musician, songwriter, record producer
Instruments: Vocalist, Violin
Album release: March 6, 2012
Recording Date: July 19, 2010 — July 20, 2010
Record Label: Jenny Scheinman Presents
1 A Ride with Polly Jean 6:21
2 Sand Dipper 4:23
3 Blues for the Double Vee 3:56
4 Devil’s Ink 7:41
5 The Audit 3:46
6 Ali Farka Touché 4:31
7 July Tenth in Three Four 6:18
8 The Mite 6:37
♣ Jim Black Drums
♣ Nels Cline Guitar
♣ Gail Marowitz Art Direction, Design
♣ Tucker Martine Mixing
♣ Sarah Register Mastering
♣ Jenny Scheinman Composer, Producer, Violin
♣ Todd Sickafoose Bass
♣ Sascha Van Oertzen Engineer, Mixing Discography:
— Live at Yoshi’s (Avant, 2000)
— The Rabbi’s Lover (Tzadik, 2002)
— Shalagaster (Tzadik, 2004)
— Crossing the Field (Koch, 2008)
— Jenny Scheinman (Koch, 2008)
— Mischief & Mayhem (Jenny Scheinman Presents, 2012)
With Ani DiFranco:
— Red Letter Year (Righteous Babe, 2008)
With Bill Frisell:
— The Intercontinentals (Nonesuch, 2003)
— Unspeakable (Nonesuch, 2004)
— Richter 858 (Songlines, 2005)
— History, Mystery (Nonesuch, 2008)
— Disfarmer (Nonesuch, 2009)
— All We Are Saying (Savoy Jazz, 2011)
With Christian McBride:
— Live at Tonic (Ropeadope, 2006)
With Madeleine Peyroux:
— Standing on the Rooftop (Decca, 2011)
With Lucinda Williams:
— West (Lost Highway, 2007)
Website: http://www.jennyscheinman.com/ / ©Violinist Jenny Scheinman at the Austin City Limits Festival, September 26, 2008 / Author: Ron Baker By David Bloom 5 March 2012 // PopMatters // Although most of her solo releases fit comfortably under the big tent of contemporary jazz, gifted violinist–composer Jenny Scheinman has never seemed particularly concerned with genre boundaries. When she isn’t recording adventurous albums of originals, or collaborating with like- minded, free–thinking jazz artists like Bill Frisell, she keeps one foot in the world of rock, providing session and arranging work for high–profile artists as diverse as Lucinda Williams, Ani Difranco, and, yes, Lou Reed and Metallica. In 2008, she even released a self–titled album of folk originals and covers, on which she made her vocal debut.
♣ You can’t miss this musical open–mindedness on Mischief & Mayhem, certainly Scheinman’s most playful album and among her best. The album title also serves as the name of her new ensemble of eclectic pros, including guitarist Nels Cline, drummer Jim Black, and bassist Todd Sickafoose. With Cline being the best reason to see Wilco live these days, Sickafoose playing bass for Difranco, and Black leading his own post–rock–leaning jazz outfit, AlasNoAxis, they and Scheinman all have an affinity for occasionally tearing it up, which clearly dictated the writing and selection of the material.
♣ Yet it would be a stretch to call Mischief & Mayhem Scheinman’s big rock move, just as it would be to call 2002’s The Rabbi’s Lover her big klezmer move. She demonstrates here once again that she’s not much for squeezing everything from a form and subsequently discarding it. Rather, each album highlights a musical interest, while remaining informed by the others. Thus, this album features Scheinman at her most rockin’, but also benefits from simply being her latest. We not only get the added value of Scheinman trading furious leads with Cline, but we can trace the flexible quartet feel back to Live at Yoshi’s, the hints of jazzified Jewish traditionalism to The Rabbi’s Lover and Shalagaster, and the strong melodic leads and the occasional feel of wide-open spaces to Crossing the Field.
♣ On the other hand, if you’re in this strictly to hear Scheinman, Cline, Black, and Sickafoose kick out the proverbial jams, you won’t be disappointed. The title of “Blues for the Double Vee” is a Village Vanguard reference, and the track, itself, is grounded in Monk–inspired intervals, but it has just as much CBGB in its DNA. Black thrashes the song’s steadfast groove into a furor, Cline switches between bluesy surf licks and dramatic power chords, and Scheinman makes like Thurston Moore with overdriven violin squeal. This bunch isn’t averse to the slow build, either. “Devil’s Ink” taunts with eerie guitar effects and cymbal rolls for most of its eight minutes before settling into nervous punk prog, as tuneful as it is twisty.
♣ Given the considerable shredding power here, many of the highlights are strategically restrained, instead emphasizing Scheinman’s ability to write and play leads that mimic the expressiveness of the human voice. The opener, “A Ride with Polly Jean”, was inspired by Scheinman’s fantasy of driving the California coast with PJ Harvey, but its beautifully languid, vaguely Middle Eastern melody is what sticks more than any overt similarity to Harvey even at her most serene. Two pretty, if slightly less distinctive, ballads, “The Audit” and “July Tenth in Three Four”, are similarly built for complementing Scheinman’s talents as melodicist. So is “Sand Dipper”, an appealingly weird experiment that would practically sound at home on The Rabbi’s Lover were the klezmer sound of the violin not against a background of atmospheric guitar swells and unpredictable bass slides.
♣ Speaking of The Rabbi’s Lover, the final track on Mischief & Mayhem is “The Mite”, a composition originally written for the earlier project. It’s hard to imagine this dynamically chugging piece, with its swooping leads and noise breakdowns, ever fitting in among that album’s stately variations on Jewish trad music. But it’s a great capper for Mischief & Mayhem, the album, and a promise of more great things to come from Mischief & Mayhem, the band. Rating: 8 Biography by Dave Lynch
♥ Violinist, composer, improviser, bandleader, and (yes) singer Jenny Scheinman has been a major force on the Brooklyn creative jazz scene since her arrival in the borough from the West Coast in 1999. She has made weekly appearances at the Barbès club in the Park Slope neighborhood when not on tour or involved in other competing projects, using her residency there as a laboratory for trying out a variety of musical approaches and configurations, exploring styles from avant jazz to country–folk singer/songwriter fare. Scheinman has become a high–profile player far afield from her Brooklyn digs, however, recording and touring as a member of Bill Frisell’s ensembles and backing up such comparatively mainstream artists as Norah Jones and Sean Lennon. It’s not unusual to spot her in televised performances with the latter two stars, including an appearance in the string section behind Lennon on a segment of The Late Show with David Letterman. Scheinman has also exercised her formidable improvisational chops in a trio setting with legendary drummer Paul Motian and pianist Jason Moran at New York City's Jazz Standard club.
♥ Scheinman was born and raised on the West Coast (although both her parents were from New York) and made her first professional appearances as a violinist in the Bay Area — her first recording, Live at Yoshi’s on the Avant label (a Japanese sublabel of DIW curated by John Zorn), was recorded at the venerable Oakland, CA, nightspot in September 1999 with the violinist leading a quartet featuring bassist Todd Sickafoose, drummer Scott Amendola, and guitarist Dave MacNab. Landing in Brooklyn that same year, she hit the ground running and hasn’t stopped since, recording albums for Tzadik (The Rabbi’s Lover, Shalagaster) and Cryptogramophone (12 Songs), her supporting bands including a who's who of modern creative jazz talent, including Frisell, Myra Melford, Ron Miles, Greg Cohen, Kenny Wollesen, and Trevor Dunn. In 2007, she headed out on tour with a quartet including guitarist Alex Cline (whose public profile had expanded well beyond avant jazz circles thanks to his involvement with Wilco), bassist Sickafoose, and drummer Jim Black.
♥ Meanwhile, Scheinman used her ongoing residency at Barbés to explore another area of her artistic persona — that of a folk–country–blues songstress with potential appeal to a wider audience than the comparatively small and insular avant jazz crowd. In 2008 came the release of Jenny Scheinman on the Koch label, an album that put her evocative singing at center stage on a set of covers penned by the likes of Lucinda Williams, Jimmy Reed, Mississippi John Hurt, and Tom Waits as well as four original tunes. A companion album of instrumental pieces entitled Crossing the Field was released by Koch the same year. Whether live or on record, Jenny Scheinman has proved to be an affecting and even compelling performer, melding diverse stylistic approaches with skill, artistry, and deep emotional commitment. Review by Thom Jurek
♣ Anyone who has seen Jenny Scheinman perform either as a headliner or backing another artist has witnessed the absolute physical delight she exhibits in playing and improvising. Mischief & Mayhem, the title of her self–released album — after recordings on Avant, Tzadik, Koch/E1, and Cryptogramophone — is the very first to aurally display this trait. With a star–studded cast — drummer Jim Black, bassist Todd Sickafoose, and guitarist Nels Cline — Scheinman offers her canny compositional wisdom, a wicked sense of instrumental humor, and the ability to symbiotically engage in deep, communicative dialogue in improvisation. As a composer, her balance of dynamic, melody, dissonance, and texture are equally remarkable parts of these eight tunes. Opener “A Ride with Polly Jean” commences with Sickafoose playing a repetitive pattern joined by brushed snare and a plucked violin. Scheinman quickly asserts a melody line that actually feels like travel. Cline’s guitar playing and effects enter the middle and fill it out, making that scenario complete. “Sand Dipper” begins in the ether and really gets moving about halfway through; it features some wooly soloing by Scheinman and kinetic, almost drum‘n’bass–styled drumming from Black. “Blues for the Double Vee” begins as a rock tune but quickly establishes itself as something else entirely without losing the feel. The album's longest track, “Devil’s Ink,” is also its most haunting and abstract -- for its initial two–thirds. It eventually establishes a fractured groove that's so gnarly and knotty it feels like the Mahavishnu Orchestra with Jean–Luc Ponty. "Ali Farka Touche" finds Cline emulating the Malian guitar giant’s phrasing and tone for a bit, but between Sickafoose’s and Black's interlocking groove and Scheinman’s aggressive soloing, it becomes a driving rock tune. The set closes with the hairy, ever shifting, prog rock–cum–avant–jazz rock number “The Mite.” It’s the set’s most humorous track and has moments of Cline utterly unhinged. These tunes are really small compositional wonders with lots of kinetic space for interplay woven in. Mischief & Mayhem is the most physically attractive album in Scheinman’s career thus far, because you can actually feel the collective’s delight in each of these performances. It’s marvelous, sly, sensual, and rugged from top to bottom. Fan mail:
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|Jenny Scheinman ≡ Mischief & Mayhem (2012)|
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