Prisms of Light
Joe Blake of Times Colonist, Victoria: Jan Stirling has been a fixture on the local jazz scene and I've been a fan for years but Prisms of Light still surprised me. The lyrical, local pianist teamed up with ace Toronto bassist Kieran Overs and Davide DiRenzo on drums to produce a stellar collection of beautiful versions of jazz standards and a trio of clever originals. Stirling underplays thoughtfully, and with Milesian insight she reinvents some of the jazz canon's greatest, most moving melodies. There's soul and deep feeling carved into Stirling's phrasing. With the impeccable rhythm team of Overs and DiRenzo propelling the changes, the pianist reshapes classics like My Heart Stood Still and Drop Me Off in Harlem with a grounded in-the-tradition confidence and sophisticated sense of dynamics and harmonics. The trio makes it sound easy, but there is a lot of depth here. Listen closely to Stirling and company's reading of Bud Powell's Duid Deed. It's a swinging, minimalist gem. Put the earphones on for the majestic, Bill Evans tribute, You Must Believe in Spring and the trio's earthy, seductive Nature Boy.