Review: Tineke Postma, ‘The Traveler’

DownBeat
(May 2010)

Tineke Postma
The Traveler
3 stars
Etcetera Now, KTD 6003

On her 2007 release, “A Journey That Matters,” award-winning Dutch saxophonist Tineke Postma employed a broad scope of influences, instrumentation and composers to achieve what was well received by critics for its fresh phrasing and soaring improvisations.

Her fourth studio album shows the same dexterity on alto and soprano saxophones, but through a more focused lens. Convening the top-notch rhythm section of Geri Allen (piano, Fender Rhodes), Scott Colley (bass) and Terri Lyne Carrington (drums), Postma seems to recall her Manhattan School of Music experience in “The Traveller,” which brims with the unmistakable sounds of some of the New York’s most prolific players.

Against that backdrop, Postma’s voice is one of controlled emotion, where romantic melodies are balanced by complex changes and an often conversational give and take with Colley and Allen. And her use of overdubs on “Song For F” kicks off the album with a sound that’s uniquely hers.

As a whole, the album reaches for a soft mood, with soprano vocals provided by Anne Chris in tight unison with Postma on three tracks, including the lyrical opener. The album’s sole cover, “Adagio 13,” is a hauntingly pretty track, informed by the strings for which it was initially written (by Brazilian composer Heitor Villa Lobos.)

While there’s no disputing the beauty, grace and skill at work in tracks like these, the listener may be more completely engaged when she shows her teeth, amping up rhythms and skirting between time signatures on the cluster of faster-paced pieces near the album’s end, like “Searching and Finding.”

The Traveler: Song For F; The Eye of the Mind; Crazy Stuff; The Line; Adagio 13 – Heitor Villa Lobos; Cabbonal; Motivation; Searching and Finding; YWC. (53:58)
Personnel: Tineke Postma , alto and soprano sax; Geri Allen, piano and Fender Rhodes; Scott Colley, bass; Terri Lyne Carrington, drums; Anne Chris, guest vocals (1,5,9)

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