Monday, September 22, 2008

Joanie Hancock

Attempting to redefine and reinvigorate the folk confessional singer-songwriter genre by adding a healthy dollop of jazz fusion, Joanie Hancock certainly gives it her best shot. It's really not her fault that the combination sounds like an auditory train wreck. The problem rests with her parsimonious record label, who can only afford to budget a few thousand dollars to cover the cost of the production. An ambitious project like this needs money, and lots of it.

Instruments in traditional jazz are often in different keys to each other, which requires that they be transposed with one another on paper and as such compatible musically. Transposing, however, requires some degree of skill and certainly demands a person who can read music. James, although an autodidact at guitar is not up to the challenge. The resulting sessions produce a full length that fails to chart but does win a cult audience of a few thousand rabid fans, who appreciate that she's tried to do something very different, even if the end result is utterly chaotic.

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