Friday, September 15, 2006

Rachel Zamsteen - Bouquet

by Frank Gualtier -- 09/15/2006, 9/22/2006

Rachel Zamsteen -- BouquetAfter a prefix snippet of somehow resolves into a 'esque style finger snapping intro I hear the shadow casting larger than life voice of Rachel Zamsteen catting her way calmly to a point with:

"Come over here boy I got something for ya; rest your weary brow on my knee there. It's a big surprise so open wide and close your eyes, I think it's something that you're gonna like."

then drawing the bowstring taught:

"It's This Gun, it's This Gun in your mouth, that says you're gonna do some listening..."

and releasing the flaming arrow and all hell breaks loose:


And suddenly I find myself in the middle of what sounds like a sizzling 1940s big band jazz noir production. Visions of go dancing through my head...

I was sold on the spot.

The song was 'This Gun' from Rachel Zamsteen's upcoming debut album 'Bouquet' which is currently scheduled for release this October 10th, 2006.

Rachel Zamsteen -- Photo by Mike BlackThe LP contains ten tracks of original music, the video for the song 'This Gun', and a multimedia EPK with interview. As well I believe there may be live concert footage. This is going to be hot hot hot and heavy -- I fully expect concrete to break when it drops!

The title track 'Bouquet' is classic - with a brightness to it. It's a brightness that is contrasted by the content -- an interesting batch of thoughts in which dismay at negativity infuses the narrator. Like when you're so tired of hearing people bitch you end up bitching about people bitching. I think we can all relate to that. Damnit -- right?

Another of my favorites is the song 'Orion'. An intense jazz number in 5/4 . Rachel shows some seductively mad vocal skills in a type of consonantless that'll make your knees weak. In parts of the song she pits these riffs, as well as lyric vocals, against an style scat. It's cool it's sexy and it makes you want to dance. Take care not to break anything as 5/4 is a real bone wrencher on the dance floor. Probably the most recognized example of a piece scored in 5/4 is the original 'Mission Impossible' t.v. series theme (1966-1973).

In the song 1984 she sings in introspective disdain of authority using 's classic fiction as a from her year of birth (Sept 21st, 1984 to be precise). A cool song already but given some great A|B|A|kickass transitional drumming by producer Andres Karu for good measure.

In fact there's a surplus of cool percussion it's way through this album.

Rachel ZamsteenI expounded on the jazz aspects of 'Bouquet' because that's what drew me to this music and to Rachel. is my mainstay these days, however, and for someone so steeped in jazz she surprises by parring it in this genre.

I'm a total swoon for a song with a pulse. I like that feeling of being rocked along on a journey. Three flowing standouts that do exactly that are 'The Same Way', 'Lusted' and 'Saved'. While there's picking in all three the first, 'The Same Way', is finger picked style. 'Lusted' negotiates guitar a bit more like on . And saved -- . I should probably also mention the added spritz of in 'Poor Dead Baby Bed Bugs'.

Rachel Zamsteen is a skilled and diverse . As a performer her voice shines with crisp clarity and top rate technical skills. She's a multi-instrumentalist playing , (acoustic, electric, slide), bass, , , , and drums. When I asked her about this array (impressive to say the least) she was happy to mention the lot (including "") but was quite modest regarding her skill levels. Especially regarding guitar. Take it from a 30 year vet -- this girl can play.

Finally, I read very recently that she was nominated for two Asbury Park Music Awards -- Best Female Solo and Best Female Vocal. I'm not the least bit surprised -- this girl is on fire. It's a glow you want to be near and 'Bouquet' is an album you want to hear.

Check out Rachel's music on her myspace profile and her label's myspace profile -- see links below.

Links for Rachel Zamsteen:
Note: For the sake of historical accuracy -- the song was actually published in 1956 and recorded by in 1958.

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