Lost + Found

I've realized why the opening few moments of Tom Abbs & Frequency Response's "Lost" make me want to just stop and cry. I find those moments so painfully beautiful because they remind me of my grandmother (my mother's mother) singing to me when I was a child. At first, I thought it was "You Are My Sunshine," but now I realize that it's "All the Pretty Horses." Listening again, I wish now I had someone to sing it to, someone to play it for.

Hush a bye, don't you cry
Go to sleep little baby.
When you wake, you shall have
All the pretty little horses.

"My grandmother sang it to me when I was little," she would always say. And I'm sure she would sing it to me today if I asked her to. She would laugh, and she would sing. My grandmother is all love.

Tom Abbs plays rich, lulling cello and tuba. Chad Taylor works enchanting polyrhythmic breakouts on the drums. Jean Cook screeches, yearns, and tempts on the violin. Brian Settles plays an arresting sax like Albert Ayler on a sunny day. The result is a thoughtful, alluring, inspiring breath of free jazz and chamber music, and then some Latin fire and then some Far East sway on "Found," and all always with a soul-stirring groove. The sweet, contagious melody of "Lost" is brought back in the album's final piece, "Reflection," and we begin again. Because we have to begin again.

The short, moving songs were recorded last year, by Steven Walcott at Brooklyn's Ghetto Sound Lab, on my birthday, incidentally: September 16. The album is called Lost + Found and is a New Engine Studios release, available from ESP-Disk. You can listen to samples at the ESP site; 320kbps downloads and compact discs are available, but there is no vinyl.

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