Polish-born Beata Pater started out as a violinist and later discovered her singing voice. This might explain why she preferred to sing wordless vocals in standards like Krzysztof Komeda’s “No Go Sleep” and “Southbound Train,” which are among the few covers on her US debut.
Playing with an ensemble formed by West Coast- and Japan-based musicians, Pater offers an eclectic mix that draws both from her classical training, Brazilian jazz and more avant-garde influences. To illustrate, the record opens with Mongo Santamaria’s “Afro Blue,” a samba-inflected tune that features Brazilian percussionist and vocalist Celia Malheiros, but further in you hear “Mr. Tad,” a contemporary original piece in an odd tempo that opens with Carl Roessler’s didgeridoo and odd (uncredited) male vocals amidst her improvisations. “Rokminoff” goes more into a Brazilian mode (the piano seems to have lifted the riff from Sergio Mendes’ version of “Berimbau”) and includes an accomplished bass solo from Jon Evans.
She continues on a bossa mode with her take on Komeda’s “No Go Sleep,” and concludes the album with a haunting cover of Miles Davis’ “Blue in Green” in which Pater takes on Davis’ lead with her voice.
Purists might argue that the album lacks direction by featuring too many styles, but that is exactly its strongest characteristic, keeping the music fresh even after multiple plays. (Ernest Barteldes)