Lelah Simon was recently noted for her
performance with The Dominant 7 on Fourteen Channels, a release
featuring two ensembles of students and alums from the Colorado
Conservatory of Jazz. A Denver-based bassist, Simon studied at the New
School for Jazz and Contemporary Music.
Third Week of April is Simon’s nod toward one of two times of year
when New York weather is perfect. Her band is comprised of Paul Romaine on
drums; Chris Mosley on acoustic and electric guitars, and vocals on “151”;
Carmen Sandim on keyboards; Danny Mayer on tenor sax; and Julia Brochey,
vocals on “Others’ Eyes.”
The electric bass opens “To Be Oblique,” underscored by subtle cymbals and
keyboards work. After the introduction, the soft tenor and electric guitar
take the lead. The music conjures a scene of a city park, with a gentle
breeze blowing the newly sprouted leaves and a few tweeting birds.
Mosley’s middle solo is freely expressive.
Brochey sings like a flute with words on “Others’ Eyes.” Effects by guitar
and keyboard add an ethereal element to this piece. Simon’s bass
“Gift,” at just over nine minutes, is the longest song in the set. It’s
also one of the more upbeat. Guitar and sax blend well on the lead. The
bass is more of a force than on most of the tracks, but it doesn’t
dominate. Mayer puts the tenor through some flitting riffs during his
solo, later making the horn squeal. Romaine is also more engaged, mixing
the toms, snare and cymbals in a variety of patterns to accompany the lead
instrument. Mosley solos, as well.
Simon composed all but two tracks, one of the covers being Neil Young’s
“Tell Me Why.” Every song fits the springtime theme of the overall set.
That may work against it, as there isn’t much range of mood. Third Week
of April is self produced.