Bloom is from Newton, Massachusetts, just west of Boston. She studied at Berklee and Yale University and was greatly influenced by George Coleman whose edgy and ambitious playing (on tenor sax) got him some choice gigs with Miles Davis back in the sixties. Over the past 30 years Bloom has not only proven herself as a fine musician but as a first-rate composer. In fact most of her recorded output features original work including some early records featuring electronics. Bloom has developed her own niche quite possibly out of necessity since the market for original jazz works that are off balance don’t really have a feverish audience hungry for new music. Nevertheless Bloom has persevered over the years by working with small groups she usually leads and by composing. Early Americans is her sixth album on Outline, a record label she started over ten years ago. Highlights include the spirited opening track “Song Patrol,” “Hips & Sticks,” “Rhyme or Rhythm” and “Big Bill.” These tracks in particular stand out due to the inter-play between Bloom, Helias and Previte, which is often genuinely playful and spontaneous during the improvised sections.
The album is nicely balanced with two solo performances, “Nearly” (written for Kenny Wheeler) and that superb performance of “Somewhere” from West Side Story. Both cuts showcase Bloom’s originality and spirited sound one that is instantly appealing and delightfully in the moment. Part of the record’s success comes from Bloom’s beautifully rounded tone and the warmth of the Avatar Studio in New York where the session took place last summer. Hers is a musical life and she’s fully committed to it.
– John Corcelli is a music critic, broadcast/producer, musician and member of the Festival Wind Orchestra. His first book, Frank Zappa FAQ: All That’s Left to Know About the Father of Invention (Backbeat Books) will be released in September.