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2022, Amanda Ekery Some (more) Short Songs Album Review

Some (more) Short Songs

Lim Yang (bass), David Leon (alto sax), Andrew Boudreau (piano), Wendy Eisenberg (guitar), Amanda Ekery (voice)

Composer, educator, vocalist Amanda Ekery has just released the second set of her George Russell Lydian Chromatic Concept inspired compositions titled Some (more) Short Songs. Notable for her vocal range, her writing on this album conveys new tangents in rhythm and leadership with a new quartet of four promising semi new comers; Andrew Boudreau (piano), Lim Yang (bass), Wendy Eisenberg (guitar), David Leon (alto sax).

I have followed her work for years, and although the numerical titles on this album are a dash corporate, there are many standout tracks. She utilizes a stunning head voice which is incredible and unlike so many others. It’s not used to show off and is crystal clear. Even more impressive is her writing with a penchant for fresh harmonies, form, and a talent for communication with her quartet which at times is tightly controlled but allows all the chance to lead their own sounds.

I’m not wild about the beginning of the opening track, LCC #13 (Vision), but the piece becomes beautiful. Amanda has exquisite range and expression and there are beautiful rich harmonies.

LCC #14 (Mind Games) has a little bit of “Inch Worm” character. I like the concept of the bridge but dislike the pitches under the vocals. Love harmony at the end with Amanda’s stacked vocal backgrounds, reminds me of Vertigo. It ends thin, contrasting the mass layered parts throughout.

LCC #15 (Maybe I Should Drive) could be heard on the radio with its pop sensibilities. Andrew has a marvelous feeling throughout and on the end solo. He’s not just playing fast notes but has flexibility reminiscent of early Bill Evans.

LCC #16 has a pointillistic beginning by Andrew with remarkable scalar accents. Love Amanda’s high voice here. Solos a wee bit too open but have a very fluid nice horizontal feeling. Nice integration of parts and energy overall.

On LCC #17, Amanda loves Andrew’s playing, and oh is it wonderful. Love the chords on this and it is beautifully recorded. Voice is beautiful and wonderful as well, and love brevity of the track. It leaves you wanting more.

LCC #18 (Up There) can be described as avant garde pop. Wendy is great on solo around 1:40min. A little bit of lick based playing from Andrew but well done. I particularly loved the beginning of this track but I didn’t like how it ended, needed a little more of the beginning feel at the end. Amanda shared that this was the hardest track to get right when recording, there were noon time challenges.

LCC #19 has so much space, is not crowded, and love this track placement here. Amanda has a beautiful tone and beautiful vibrato that’s not over sweet like Broadway. Lim Yang on bass is good, very effective. Chords are two note harmonies that people move through at their own pace, which creates the crunch. A little Carla Bley on one chord.

LCC #20 starts with Andrew’s pointillistic playing but is also rhythmical. Not my favorite Amanda voice or track. Andrew has good hands in solo, a little scalar for me. This would be fashionable in SoHo but objectively very good and it’s good to have a beat.

LCC #21 (That Dog Won’t Hunt) is a Texas/southern saying meaning that’s not going to happen. The track is catchy, rhythmical, up tempo, and Lim put down a nice pulse. I like the vocal harmony doubled in middle and think the theme from beginning should come back.

LCC #22 is perfect, a real highlight. The melody is beautiful, zen-like, and is a haunting duet between Andrew and Amanda singing and playing synth.

Questions: How did you come up with the format?

Answer: I started writing these short pieces in Ben Schwendener’s course on George Russell’s Lydian Chromatic Concept at NEC while I was a student from 2016 – 2018. Thinking in terms of tonal gravity and writing melodic/harmonic possibilities the concept invites, I’ve really grown to love creating my own personal style with the LCC analysis framework.

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