If you hang around the LA jazz scene, sooner or later you're going to hear pianist Josh Nelson perform. He is teamed with bassist Pat Senatore a number of times, but usually he's supporting a local female singer, as he's got a great ear and sensitive touch on the ivories. His own albums have been creative feasts, ranging from lyrical bop to takes on Holt's The Planets.
This time around, he teams up with producer/guitarist Anthony Wilson to create ten songs relating to the past, present and future of the City of Angels. Along with a team of vocalists Kathleen Grace and Lillian Sengpiehl, musicians such as Josh Johnson/as-fl, Brian Walsh/cl-bcl, Chris Lawrence/p-fh, Larry Goldings/B3, Alex Boneham/b, Dan Schnelle/dr and Aaron Serfaty/perc, Nelson produces a rich pastoral album that overflows with lyricism.
With Nelson's lovely and graceful piano approach, Walsh's clarinet creates a chamber mood on the lilting journey "Bridges and Tunnels" whereas "Lost Souls Of Saturn," with an extra percussive pulse, creates a Latin ripple effect. Grace's voice teams with Nelson's delicate touch on "The Sky Remains" and Sengpiehl's poetry on "Ah, Los Angeles" floats along with Lawrence's horn. A bit of Mahler and klezmer teams up for the circus atmosphere that captures the old "Pacific Ocean Park" perfectly, while a troubadour/folk feel brims along "Run" and "Pitseleh." All throughout, Nelson is a master of creating the perfect mood for each part of LA, making you feel like you're on a walking tour around MacArthur Park. Bravo.