Vocalist Miki Purnell, in collaboration with longtime music director Tamir Hendelman, has crafted a sophomore album with a theme of beauty within the darkness of night. Titled Midnight Bloom. Joined by drummer Dean Koba and bassist Alex Frank, adding guitarist Pat Kelley and Bob Sheppard on tenor, soprano and flute on choice selections, along with percussionist Tommy Aros, adds textural character to four of the selections: “No Moon At All,” “Solitary Moon,” “Happy Madness” and “Love Dance.”
Purnell was born and raised in Hiroshima, Japan. It was during her time at college that her love of jazz was kindled. However, her medical education and later becoming a doctor based in Hawaii, put her love of jazz on the backburner. “As a medical provider, I did nursing home concerts with my attending doctor who played guitar. Singing with guitar and ukulele after a long day was fun,” says Purnell. Based in Sacramento, Purnell is a part of the second-largest integrative medicine team in the United States.
Midnight Bloom opens with “Embraceable You,” titillated with an emotional saxophone statement from Sheppard. Purnell joins, singing the opening with sensitive support from Hendelman. The full ensemble enters for the melody, which Purnell sings with style and warmth. Koba’s brushwork propels the feel as Frank holds the bottom down. The elegance in which Purnell sings the duet section with Frank is a highlight. Her rhythm and buoyancy bring each phrase to life. Purnell manages to create a fresh sound to this standard.
“Love Dance” is performed with a relaxed Latin feel. Kelley and Aros join the ensemble to enrich the sound. Kelley’s solo is energetic but never nervous. The arrangement is outstanding as each section is given new sonic details that add to the shape of the song and its flow. The ending vamp features Purnell scatting.
A step forward in Purnell’s journey, Midnight Bloom is a sensual listening experience.
(There Ought To Be A) Moonlight Saving Time; Embraceable You; No Moon At All; Estrada Branca (This Happy Madness); ‘Round Midnight /Midnight Madness Called Jazz; Quiet Now; Love Dance; The Night We Called It A Day; Teach Me Tonight; You Are There; Solitary Moon; Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams; Stars (Endless Stars); Midnight Bloom.