(2019 - Klanggalerie*/Spoot Music - Austria/USA)
*[physical compact disc released only by Klanggalerie - Austria]
An eighteen song propulsion of that river of creativity from multi-talented, multi-instrumentalist Amy Denio. For fans, they already know her tireless energy and abilities to make music from many regions, and prolific output over decades, since her early years with Tone Dogs. This is her 17th solo recording and includes so much of what you already love about her lyrics, vocals, and musical adventure. It is no surprise that she has gained the title of Seattle's Jazz Hall of Fame 'Avant Goddess'.
Amy continues to use a great deal of Balkan inspiration and on 'Eureka' she adds silent film commissioned pieces (some for a film from 1921, more recently released on DVD by Kino Lorber), tunes with field recordings, and various other compositions, even one written for a fan who suggested a love song related to Iceland. One might hear influences in her vocals to everyone from K D Lang, Laurie Anderson, Carla Diratz, and an amazing Finnish female folk trio called Varttina (Amy uses multi harmony quite often for that lush cushion). Then comes the music store full of instruments she can play extremely well (an understatement). She also has guests Srdan ‘Gino’ Jevdevic on bouzouki & rhythm tracks, and thanks Johnny Morovich for brac, and Eveline Muller for bowing her destroyed cymbal on 'Petoljubac (Five Kisses).' All music was composed, recorded and produced by Amy Denio at Spaciouser Spoot Studios, Seattle.
I've seen her on saxophone live and just stood in a trance. I've also seen her brief reunion of Tone Dogs at the first Seaprog in Seattle, and again, was transfixed by the simplicity but charming ditties among all the edgy ideas in those songs. With this solo, the stories are picturesque along with the colorful arrangements, and instantly take the listener in. Not only does Amy usher you all over the world but creates atmospheres in some of those places, either unique or rare for the ears. There is nearly one hour (55:39) of music full of bewitching, soulful, absorbing, virtual, and even bits of humor; full of her gift for meticulous and priceless musical labor. It is easily understandable how this made it on my TOP CHOICES of 2019 list. The physical compact disc is important for the inside information and booklet that details each piece, the story behind it, and credits etc. Plus, it will be permanently placed in my music library.
The title 'Eureka' was chosen because some of the songs were arrived at so quickly. She notes that 'the songs wrote themselves, I was merely the vessel'. The content of this recording is as close to a shortened history of Denio's musical career so far, as one might imagine. In fact, one song flashes back to remind one of her more austere bass lines akin to Tone Dogs era. 'Wolf Moon' (track #17) has essence of Robert Wyatt and is spectacular. The album ends with 'Stickney The Crater' and is far more rousing than, but may recall Suzanne Vega for some, however Ms. Denio goes places none of her comparative artists would ever tread. Words are not enough to describe how great this album is, so buy it and hear for yourself. With plenty of warm vocal, glockenspiel, harmony, accordion, stringed acoustics, saxes, frame drum, and other sundry instruments, this is all incredible. GIGANTIC RECOMMENDATION.
©Reviewed by Lee Henderson 2 - 28 - 2020