CD Review: The Lyndol Descant Trio “Live at Rockwood Music Hall”

The Lyndol Descant Trio
Atist: The Lyndol Descant Trio
Title: Live at Rockwood Music Hall 
Label: self-produced
Genre: singer-songwriter/jazz 

Review by Dawoud Kringle

In my review of the CD All Love, I described the essentially autobiographical nature of Lyndol Descant’s music. This song form must translate well to the stage, as the most natural thing in the world is a dialogue between a storyteller and an audience.

Live at Rockwood Music Hall was recorded on January 3rd, 2018, and features Descant on vocals and piano, Colin Hua on guitar, Ran Livneh on bass, and Uri Zelig on drums and vocals.

The release begins with “Metaphysical Girl.” Descant opened with a piano figure with a descending bass line. As the band comes in, the chords take on a harmonically interesting variation implied by the intro. Descant’s vocals paint a dark picture of spiritual angst, and a search for life’s meaning as interpreted through various love relationships.

“Vicious Valentine / Reeds” is a medley of two songs from her CD All Love. Descant approaches both songs with a subtle variation on the studio versions, and both songs work well together.

Live, Descant and her band needed to approach “Sex Wars” in a very different manner than the studio version. Here, the power of the lyrics stood on their own merit, without the dark textures the original used.

“Passion Trance,” a lilting and swinging song on 5/4, takes the listener through some subtly Joni Mitchell inspired changes and lyrics. Livneh and Zelig had some moments to shine.

“Promise” and “Storm” both had a strangely country flavor to them. Hua’s guitar work was given room to express itself on Storm. The final track, “All Love,” reminded me of late period Beatles in a way I can’t quite put my finger on.

The entire performance was well paced and put together. Descant is a passionate, yet not overbearing singer, with very solid piano skills. Her singing has an intimacy and immediacy that is very refreshing. Her songwriting harkens back to a time in popular music where lyrical depth and harmonic sophistication were the norm, rather than the exception. Livneh, Zelig, and Hua are clearly excellent musicians who offer the songs the exact support and color one expects from musicians sensitive to the needs of the composition. The CD was very well recorded and mixed.

This music is very well suited to live performance. If Descant is anything, she’s a storyteller, and her musical skills form a very effective and interesting scenario for the content of her songs. Live at Rockwood Music Hall captures the essence of her performance, and persona, very effectively.  

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Mailtrack 06/25/19, 10:29:24 PM