Click here to read a review on of one of my shows while on a 2-month tour to kick-off 2015.

She sounds like no one but herself. Nearly every currently active jazz pianist can usually be compared to a handful of major contemporary influences: Bill Evans, McCoy Tyner, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, et al. Not so with Clement. She is a true original. It’s really hard to put one’s finger on why she sounds so original. Part of it is attitude: the pure, sunny, positive emotions that emanate from her as she plays. She is a joy to watch as well as a joy to hear. The broad smiles, raised eyebrows and wide-open eyes looks she gives the other musicians, the mouthing along as she pulls off a particularly multi-faceted run or arpeggio, the expressive body language, all show an overt elation in music making that is inspirational both to her associates and to the audience. Dressed simply but elegantly, she played barefooted, a very direct connection to the instrument. She is an artist who truly seems one with the instrument. It’s not a tool or a machine but rather a partner in a dance.

My son, Marc, a longtime resident alto sax player in Seattle, has told me on many an occasion that Dawn Clement is the real deal: an incessantly swinging bop pianist with chops galore and a beautiful sense of intimacy and feeling when it comes to ballads. Just catch how joyously creative she is on Jerome Kern's "I've Told Every Little Star." She'll get your attention! A couple of Clement's Seattle colleagues are nicely represented here with Julian Priester's airy waltz, "First Nature" and Denny Goodhew's minor quasi-blues, "Distant Oasis." Clement is one of those pianists who likes to offer up a vocal now and then, and she handles the assignment with class on a diverse threesome: "Just One More For You," a lesser known Jobim tune; a welcome surprise on the old chestnet "Dream A Little Dream Of Me," and the pairing of "All Of Me" with a tender sentiment called "on Love That Will Not Let Me Go." Among other pleasures provided by Clement's piano, Dean Johnson's bass and Matt Wilson's drums are "Sweet And Lovely"; a couple additional of the pianist's originals, "2-Day" and "Singing Hands," and a delicate closer by Ellington, "Heaven." Marc was right. Dawn Clement is the real deal.

The ingenious title track from Jane Ira Bloom's 2008 CD "Mental Weather" builds on a bass vamp figure whose time signature, the composer informs us, alternates measures of 4/4 and 3/8. This creates an underlying jitteriness that ideally complements amazing solos by Jane Ira and her remarkable new pianist, Seattle's Dawn Clement, who both swing brilliantly over bassist Mark Helias and drummer Matt Wilson's in-the-pocket groove in a mighty unusual meter. But "Mental Weather" is not about solos, metrics or electronics. This is a full-fledged four-way exchange between master musicians preternaturally attuned to one another.

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