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Maria
     

Maria

by Jane Siberry
 
Jane Siberry's fourth and final album during her seven-year tenure on the major label Reprise Records, Maria is a decisive break from the lushly layered art pop of her previous work. Recorded with a quintet of jazz players led by trumpeter David Travers-Smith and pianist Tim Ray, Maria is Siberry's Astral Weeks, a

Overview

Jane Siberry's fourth and final album during her seven-year tenure on the major label Reprise Records, Maria is a decisive break from the lushly layered art pop of her previous work. Recorded with a quintet of jazz players led by trumpeter David Travers-Smith and pianist Tim Ray, Maria is Siberry's Astral Weeks, a song cycle of lengthy, slowly unfolding tunes lacking conventional pop song hooks but awash in hypnotic beauty. Siberry makes the comparison particularly plain on the first two tracks, "Maria" and "See the Child," which both feature incantatory vocals and rushes of cyclical, chanted phrases. A note in the CD liner says the album's basic tracks were recorded in a single three-day session in September 1994, and the songs' improvisatory freshness bears that out. Roughly balanced between jazz and pop in a manner roughly akin to Joni Mitchell's Mingus, the songs make a virtue of their stylistic freedom: even the closest thing to a conventional pop song here, "Lovin' Cup," features loose, off-the-cuff fills by Ray and Travers-Smith and Siberry's pleasantly meandering vocal melody over an atypically funky rhythm section powered by Christopher Thomas' discofied bass riff. The album's culmination, coming after two minutes' silence following the next to last track, "Oh My My" adds a tabla and sitar to further confuse the genre boundaries. A 20-minute epic (which Siberry had originally intended to release on a separate CD before Reprise refused to release a two-disc set), "Oh My My" never threatens to dissolve into aimless jazz-rock noodling in the manner of other side-long experiments in the style. Siberry's impressionistic lyrics weave in lines from earlier songs on the album, alongside hushed spoken word interludes and interpolations of childhood songs like "Puff the Magic Dragon" and "Mary Had a Little Lamb." It's nowhere near as pretentious as that description sounds, although in lesser hands, it probably would be. Instead, it sounds like the logical culmination not only of this album, but of this stage of Siberry's career. (Certainly multi-part mini-epics like "Mimi on the Beach" and the three-part "Map of the World" sound in retrospect like they were leading up to this.) As a result, it seems fitting that this was the end of Siberry's major-label tenure, and that her next release was the decks-clearing Teenager, a largely solo album of folk-pop songs she had written in her teens.

Product Details

Release Date:
08/29/1995
Label:
Warner Bros / Wea
UPC:
0093624591528
catalogNumber:
45915

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Jane Siberry   Primary Artist,Guitar,Vocals
Brian Blade   Drums
George Koller   Sitar
Ian McLaughlin   Percussion
Tim Ray   Piano
David Travers   Trumpet
Elizabeth Crawford   Choir, Chorus
Cullen Singers   Choir, Chorus
Louise Cullen   Choir Master
Ritesh Das   Tabla
Leah Fritsche   Choir, Chorus
Terri Goddard   Choir, Chorus
Jessica Praskey   Choir, Chorus
John Roberts Praskey   Choir, Chorus
Sarah Rosete   Choir, Chorus
Gavin Sleightholm   Choir, Chorus
Christopher Thomas   Bass
Alexandra Aleightholm   Choir, Chorus
Ian McLauchlan   Percussion
David Travers-Smith   Trumpet

Technical Credits

Jane Siberry   Producer
Ormond Jobin   Engineer,Contributor
George Koller   Contributor
David Travers   Engineer
Elizabeth Crawford   Contributor
Louise Cullen   Director
Leah Fritsche   Contributor
Terri Goddard   Contributor
Jessica Praskey   Contributor
John Roberts Praskey   Contributor
Sarah Rosete   Contributor
Alexandra Sleightholm   Contributor
Gavin Sleightholm   Contributor
David Travers-Smith   Producer,Engineer

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