A fiery and dedicated improvisor and composer, saxophonist Idit Shner’s latest quartet recording highlights her rich and ongoing relationship with pianist Josh Hanlon and drummer Stockton Helbing, which dates back to the early 2000’s when Idit was working on her Doctorate at the University of North Texas. Along with bassist James Driscoll, the quartet tackles a program of Idit’s compositions, all based in the jazz tradition but with influences ranging from traditional melodies & rhythms from Zimbabwe, to classical Arabic music, to the Latin-tinged grooves of McCoy Tyner from his early ’70s recordings. For the album’s lone standard, Billy Strayhorn’s “Passion Flower,” Shner declares her debt to one of jazz’s definitive alto stylists with this haunting Ellington band staple, one of Duke’s many feature numbers for Johnny Hodges.
…an excellent group of players jamming, meshing together fluidly, and the energy is consistently high.
“An impressive showing…”
Saxophonist Idit Shner is the embodiment of a modern jazz musician: both forward looking and steeped in tradition; simultaneously international, local and personal. Her new recording Tuesday’s Blues displays all those qualities and more. Five of the compositions here derive from music (ancient, modern, sacred, secular) that Shner heard growing up in Israel. All have personal meaning for her, and all have been melodically, rhythmically and harmonically transformed by her, in the best tradition of jazz. Featuring pianist Stefan Karlsson, bassist Mike League, and drummer Steve Pruitt.
“…Shner and Schlaffer have precious little trouble lighting the area with their considerable talent.”
“Fissures” presents saxophonist Idit Shner and harpist Yumiko Endo Schlaffer in a program of works for this unique combination of instruments that has rarely been represented in recorded form. A wide array of composers and musical expression are represented in the selections – from Rokus de Groot’s bass saxophone feature “Cadenza,” to Yvonne Desportes’ virtuosic “Une fleur sur l’étang,” and Dr. Yusef Lateef’s light and transparent “Romance.” Now based in Eugene, Oregon, Idit Shner is an active performer of both jazz and classical music and has commissioned and recorded new music, performed solo recitals in the US and Israel, and plays regularly with the Oregon Symphony. Ms. Shner appeared in Israel as a featured soloist in 2006 with a symphony orchestra and her most recent solo recital in Israel was broadcast live throughout the country. Currently Ms. Shner serves as Assistant Professor of Saxophone at the University of Oregon. Yumiko Endo Schlaffer has performed at the Imperial Palace for the Empress and Her Royal Family of Japan. She has been featured as a solo artist with several symphonies, including Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Chamber Musicans, Las Colinas Symphony Orchestra, and The Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra. She has won first prize in two different divisions of the Japan International Harp Competition.
“Shner navigates this often craggy and angular musical terrain with care and precision . . . This release is those wanting to go off the beaten path and hear something new, accessible and smart.”
For her newest recording, saxophonist Idit Shner presents a “mid-century modern” recital of original and arranged works for saxophone and piano. All of the compositions date from 1939-1977 including original works by Eugene Bozza, Paul-Baudouin Michel, and Philip Glass, along with arrangements of pieces by Olivier Messiaen (Le Merle Noir, for flute and piano), Ross Lee Finney (Sonata in A minor, for violin and piano), and Odon Partos (Yizkor, for cello and orchestra). Accompanying Shner is the incomparable pianist Svetlana Kotova.
“…an exquisite album that will appeal to both the layman, and the academically trained musician. I cannot recommend this work enough, and has been one of my favorite releases of 2019”
Presented with a University of Oregon Faculty Excellence Award in 2016, saxophonist Idit Shner chose to invest that award in the creation of new compositions for saxophone. Participating in both individual and group commissioning efforts, this recording was programmed from that collection of ten new works by long established composers, such as Chicago’s Stacy Garrop, to several more diverse and emerging voices, including Ziv Slama from Israel and the Oregon-based Andrea Reinkemeyer and Evan C. Paul. With pianist EunHye Choi, Shner performed several concerts with each of these pieces to enthusiastic response, forming the belief that while obvious audience favorites, they also represent a substantial contribution to current saxophone literature.