pfMENTUM

Bonnie Barnett’s cheerful round face, accompanied by her permutations of ironically twisted jazz sensuality, deadpan soliloquies and made-up texts, is a welcome presence in the room. In Between Dreams is a classy set by the Los Angeles vocalist, who exercises her renowned skill in the company of reedman Dick Wood, bassist Hal Onserud and percussionist Garth Powell. They motivate her throughout a network of cultivated intuitions, their communication free from rhetorical staleness and permeated by the legitimate intention of transmitting artistry in fine expression. It’s not just fake poems and chomped syllables, though. “Matisse” and “Nothingness” are settings of, respectively, Gertrude Stein and Jean-Paul Sartre, delivered unsmilingly as the guys around look for openings to tickle the leader under her dress of seriousness. Mission nearly accomplished when they turn stern recitals into absurdist scenes of sorts, our attention partially stolen by their impulsive nimbleness and awareness of finer details. A statement of intent against warts-and-all shoddiness, needing several spins to be successfully absorbed.

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