Mary Ann Hurst with Small World and friends

Chinese Folksongs in a Jazz Mode

Mary Ann Hurst, vocals; Curtis Calderon, trumpet; Polly Harrison,7 string guitar; Kyle Keener, drums; John Sheridon, piano; Larry Slezak, saxaphone, flute; Darrel Tidaback, bass; Ron Wilkins, trombone.

Chinese folksongs Texas style; a long way from the pentatonic scale, but this is rewarding stuff. Mary Ann Hurst sings every track in Mandarin and English, she has a very relaxed, melodic voice and all the tracks imbue calmness. The words are simple, delivered clearly and offering us age old problems and delights. There is an eloquent trumpet solo in "Nanniwan" by Curtis Calderon and "Crescent Moon Rising" is as about upbeat as it gets, with some fine flute playing by Larry Slezak and the piano of John Sheridon weaving a complimentary tapestry at the back. "Kangding Village Lovesong", a gentle piece is performed with great sensitivity. The arrangements come from Curtis Calderon and Rob Bargad.

This is an interesting and worthwhile CD, though all the tracks are on the same wave length and Mary Ann does not alter her voice from gentle sweetness throughout. I would have liked to have compared some of the tracks with the original folk songs.

by Ferdinand Maylin

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