by Rudy Palma
Terrence Wintersmith, A Walk in the Woods (Self, 2019)
Wintersmith is a new name to me, though it appears he has a well-anchored resume from industry chair, to a performer, to songwriter to what is coined kindie rock producing his own daughters in a group called the Treetop Sisters. I pondered if this was a world, smooth-jazz, or jazz release, as it certainly has elements of each. What is evidently clear is the craftsmanship of the writing, Wintersmith is not the vocalist, but writes the songs, plays keyboards and produces the album, including three very adroit vocalists. A mere 6 tracks, the first cut “A Walk in the Woods,” is a celebratory sound that joyfully fits the canvas of world music, with its hypnotic melody and flowing instrumentation that settles your mood immediately. Whereas tunes like “Ridgetop,” have more of a pop-jazz appeal. While “Jumping and Jiving,” has an instrumentation aesthetic of the smooth jazz idiom with vocalists David E. Greene, Jessica Jeza and Patricia Lee creating a three-part harmony of quick runs and astute vocalizations that highlights an ala Andrew Sisters vintage throwback, this is where the tune takes on a new twist. While this is predominately an instrumental album, I have to note that “A Vida Que Eu Sonhei” is a distinctive Latin tune, with a tender softness to it and Portuguese lyrics sung by Jessica Jeza with an airy authenticity. The album runs the gamut of styles, but for our purposes, it is the 3 vocalists that truly shine on this project no matter the genre they might be tackling.