Rosewood Cafe (CD)
Fusion lovers will enjoy the PARMA recordings debut of oboist Margaret Herlehy in this fresh, new collection of Latin-inspired jazz. Uniquely, oboe is the central instrument in each composition. Herlehy not only meets the demands of such a challenge but exceeds them. “Choro Negro” is a prime example. To the ear it should register as Brazilian, or even French, but it becomes something altogether different. The result, while experimental, is quite sensible leading the listener to wonder why he or she hasn’t heard the oboe in this capacity before. “Café 1930” is Herlehy’s opportunity to showcase her versatility with incredible depth in this introspective and solemn romanze. The other end of the spectrum is the fun and vibrant “Diabinho Maluco,” a flute and oboe duet reminiscent of the woodwind agility demonstrated in J.S. Bach’s great instrumental suites but delivered with the swagger of a modern Latin dance. On eight of the nine tracks appears guitarist David Newsam a regional powerhouse in the latin, jazz, and classical guitar community and a colleague of Herlehy at the University of New Hampshire. With Rosewood Café Margaret Herlehy is serving something exploratory and quite palatable. Enjoy!