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Praise for Jessica Lurie’s Long Haul

Dan Oulette, ZEALnyc

“Finally even if you can’t field a full-fledged big band, you can certainly sound like one….Case in point: the brilliant Jessica Lurie, the winds/multi-sax player and composer of genre-defiant gems on her sextet’s latest recording, Long Haul (Chant Records)…It’s spiked with energy, tumbles with klezmer, Latin and funk, flies with an improvisational spirit that’s full of life…Conversations in her tight ensemble abound among her and her bandmates, and there’s a teeming sensibility of adventure…I dare you to merely sample without plunging headlong into the fullness of Lurie’s originality as composer and improviser…definitely one of my favorites this year.”

Frank London, internationally renowned composer: “Jessica’s new Long Haul CD ROCKS! great playing, writing and especially sound — fantastic!”


*JESSICA LURIE, LONG HAUL:* Jessica Lurie’s strength is her ability to wield many different music influences at once, but still come out the other side with a distinctive sound full of individual personality. Lurie combines klezmer, Balkan, Latin, and modern jazz, but the final product could only come from her and her alto saxophone. Sometimes, her music rises and crashes; sometimes, it’s an effusive celebration, other times, it’s a graceful dance. No matter the incarnation, Lurie’s distinct sound is stamped upon every note. And if you’re looking for breadcrumbs leading to other excellent modern jazz recordings, Lurie’s line-up for this session provides them: Drummer Allison Miller, bassist Todd Sickafoose, pianist Brian Marsella, guitarist Mike Gamble, and special guest trombonist Naomi Siegel have enough music between them to gut your savings account. – Bandcamp Daily

The New Cool: Jessica Lurie – Beyond Bicoastal By Abe Beeson • Dec 15, 2017 Long Haul flies by, and encourages return visits to your favorite songs. It’s a fantastic display of the many talents and musical muses of Jessica Lurie, and further establishes her place as one of the great musicians and composers in the world today. You can call it jazz, but upon further listening it’s obviously much more than that.


• Jason Crane, The Jazz Hour
• The Bluefat Aesthetic: Best Music of 2012: The List
• Something Else: Mark Saleski’s Top Albums for 2012, Jazz and Improvised Music
• Francis Davis’s top 10 listings for Pandora, (from Dan Oulette)

• EMUSIC.COM : “Defying genre borders, multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Jessica Lurie satisfies on Megaphone Heart, designing a multilayered sonic structure … melding lyrical pop, stinging rock, rhythmic Eastern European folk music and improvisation-heavy jazz with a dose of free-wheeling avant-groove-meets-grind. “ – Dan Ouellete

• May 2012 Downbeat Magazine: 4 ½ Stars!: “Multi-instrumentalist Jessica Lurie and her ensemble have put together one hell of a program. Sure enough, it turns out it is chock full of stories. Lurie’s piercing flute, warm saxophone and catchy vocals contrast with guitarist Brandon Seabrook’s snappy banjo playing, the band driven from behind by drummer Allison Miller’s tasteful clobbering. – John Ephland

• Jessica Lurie Ensemble – Megaphone Heart: It’s a pop album with jazz leanings. It’s a jazz album with pop sensibility. Yes, and sometimes it stomps around with such authority that I half expect Tom Waits to pop out of the speakers. “ – Something Else: Mark Saleski

• Bay Area Weekend Picks, Nov. 15, 2012: “Best known in the Bay Area as a founding member of Seattle’s uproariously grooving Billy Tipton Memorial Saxophone Quartet, saxophonist-vocalist Jessica Lurie has forged a fascinating career as a bandleader since relocating to Brooklyn, drawing on Balkan beats, jazz forms and rock energy. “ Andrew Gilbert

• KPTZ Pt. Townsend, WA : “Jessica Lurie’s unusual mix of instruments (banjo, cello. megaphone) with her signature sax is perfect for our eclectic mix of music. A bit folk, a bit indie, a lot jazz, and all interesting.” Larry Stein, Program Director

• El Intrusio Music Magazine: “… She brings together folk, klezmer, rock, world music, soul and art , live song and instrumental music, composite material and improvisation; traditional gender and advanced jazz. In short: in Megaphone Heart, she presents a program as eclectic, compelling, vivid and moving as anything that is expressed from the heart.” Sergio Piccirilli

• Avant Music News, 5 Stars: Jessica Lurie is a jazz dervish well on her way to spinning into a major New York City attraction.” Stephen Fruitman

• Pop Matters: May 2012 : “With the Jessica Lurie Ensemble, Lurie continues to show her flexibility, melding American jazz traditions with various international sounds. It’s the sound of a tightly focused ensemble pulling together everything they need.” Justin Cober-Lake, Pop Matters

• All About Jazz Italy Fall 2011: “Jessica Lurie is considered one of the most exciting interpreters of music today, pushing stylistic barriers … to construct new musical landscapes, to daydream with an extreme sense of purpose.” Giuseppe Segala

• Kurt Gottschalk. All About Jazz NYC “… cinematic jazz and gypsy inflection… impressive.”

• JAZZIZ “…The ensemble shifts among funk, jazz, folk and ethnic melodies reminiscent of Klezmer-jazz and Balkan-jazz hybrids by artists like Steve Bernstein (and) the winding, angular grooves of Tim Berne.”

• Phil Freeman, JAZZIZ “… her melodies and saxophone solos unfurl in skirling arcs, wending within the ensemble sound rather than floating atop it, like a silk ribbon being pulled along the bed of a quickly moving stream. “

• Le Monde “A little rock, a little bebop, a little free improvisation, and a good dose of Eastern European melody and harmony.”

• Greg Burk, LA Weekly ”While she is not afraid to get her hair in a tangle, this bandleader puts the accent on melody and the remote-control imperative that drives the tapping of your helpless toe.”

• Something Else Reviews, Jessica Lurie Ensemble Shop Of Wild Dreams, 2010:

Lurie plays alto and tenor saxes, flute accordion, baritone ukulele and on some cuts, even sings. Supported by a band that included keyboards, guitar, acoustic bass, drums, percussion and a couple of less mainstream instruments like banjo and “tape recorder,” the music is often “jazz” for lack of a better description. Lurie liberally mixes in folk, rock, avant garde, Eastern European and New Orleans stylings. Somehow it makes for a coherent, compelling record, held together by an adventurous, carefree attitude that serves as the catalyst for music that’s loose but never pointless.

From the second-line folk beat of “I Don’t Care To I don’t Care” to the exotic klezmer shadings of “Grinch” to the banjo-powered whack jazz of “Pinjur,” Lurie puts her expansive range to good use. Never boring, always creative, Shop Of Wild Dreams is bound to become one of the most unique and stimulating recordings to come out of that delectable netherworld between jazz and non-jazz this year.”
• Chicago Jazz Magazine Review, by Paul Abella, Jessica Lurie Ensemble Shop Of Wild Dreams, 2010 “… Her bassist and drummer come from folk-punk Ani DiFranco’s band, and keyboardist Erik Deutsch had done time playing with guitarist Charlie Hunter. This is a band that came to play. … this is a disc that deserves to be listened to all the way through. Hearing them all in one shot uncovers an ebb and flow to this disc that is so much more than just some standard formulaic textbook placement of tunes, where the ballad is always slotted #3 on the disc and the longest tune is always at the end. Instead, this is a fantastic disc on its own terms. … There is so much to explore on Shop of Wild Dreams that it cannot possibly be taken in in its entirety on a first listen. This is a knockout disc from first cut to last cut. For those who are familiar with Zach Brock or Matt Ulery, The Jessica Lurie Ensemble is definitely a kindred spirit. Highly recommended. ”

JamBand, Music, By: Dennis Cook, Jessica Lurie Ensemble:Shop of Wild Dreams, February 18th, 2010 ” Artists that offer one tremendous satisfaction and surprise throughout their career are rare. The temptation to embrace a profitable rut is strong, especially in these downturn days. So, with a quiet smile glued to my face, I can report Jessica Lurie is such a rarity, a composer and instrumentalist of gliding power and true invention. Case in point, Shop of Wild Dreams (released in January on Zipa!Music), which begins with the post-bop electricity of the early ’70s Atlantic Records jazz stable and then proceeds to morph through feeling soaked moods dappled with banjo, brass, gutsy singing, elemental soundscapes and emotionally potent observations.