Karolina Strassmayer



Karolina Strassmayer, alto and soprano saxophones, flute; John di Martino, piano; Thomas Bramerie, acoustic bass; Drori Mondlak, drums.Guest musicians: Ray Vega, trumpet; Wycliffe Gordon, trombone 

Here's a nice change. Since there is an abundance of talented lady pianists on the current scene, it is refreshing to hear a talented lady saxophonist and flautist. Karolina Strassmayer also deserves the title of "lady bop" ­ which is cool when one considers she left the intimate charm of rural Austriato make her home in New York. A member of the famed Diva band in the US, the lady has already amassed a great deal of acclaim from some very famous and knowing musicians. The numbers here are all Strassmayer originals and she also provides the arrangements. We are not told how much rehearsal went into this set, but there is cohesion no end.

Karolina is at once a wailer and a blues-inflected sentimentalist. There is a lovely solo from Ray Vega on the opener, and the rhythm section does more than just provide rhythm. The irrepressible Wycliffe Gordon contributed marvelously on tracks five and eight with his six-deep solos. It is also track eight that gives Karolina the chance to really show her talent on soprano, and there is nothing missing with her forward-swirl coupled with a great inventive sense of swing, with Martino adding some beautifully rounded chords in his solo. The album is dedicated to the marvelous Austrian saxophonist Karl Drewo, Karolina's one-time teacher. The lady is on her way ­ get some of the action, you will be hearing a lot about her.

by Lawrence Brazier      

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