The emergence of a new voice in jazz is always a welcome event in the music, and the debut release of pianist/composer Deidre Rodman's first recording as a leader, Sun Is Us on Sunnyside Records, is an event worth rejoicing.
In an age when many so-called "jazz lions" release recordings that rely on high-powered publicity instead of mature musicality, Ms. Rodman's CD is a welcome departure from that practice. It's a record that documents the origins of an artist who has paid her dues with countless hours of practice, sideman apprenticeship and introspection. Ms. Rodman is joined by a fine array of New York City's finest musicians including: trumpeter Russ Johnson, tenor saxophonist Tony Malaby and Loren Stillman on alto and soprano sax, Bob Bowen on bass and drummer Ari Hoenig. The CD's eight tracks reveal Rodman's eclectic influences. Pianistically she combines the harmonic imagination of Herbie Hancock, the swinging drive of Gene Harris and the motific genius of Ahmad Jamal. That Holy Trinity of the keyboard is framed in Rodman's involved and engaging compositions.
Born in 1971 in Boise, Idaho, Rodman earned her BA in Piano Performance and Pedagogy at Brigham Young University, and received her MA in Jazz Studies from North Texas State. She arrived in New York City in October, 1997 and she quickly found work with a number of fine musicians. She gigged with saxophonist and co-founder of The Jazz Passengers, Roy Nathanson and she played on his CD Fire at Keaton's Bar and Grill on Six Degrees Records. She also was a featured soloist on the subsequent tour, which included singers Debbie Harry and Elvis Costello. She and Debbie also worked together on the soundtrack for Pie in the Sky; the Brigid Berlin Story.
In addition,she's performed with trombonist Curtis Fowlkes, Russ Johnson, the Alphabet Lounge Band and the Raymond Scott Orchestrette. She is currently musical director for a Billy Strayhorn project featuring Darius deHaas. Rodman also performs regularly at New York's Cornelia Street Café. "I waited to record something that I felt was on a more spiritual level," Rodman remarked. "I didn't want to make an album before I was ready. I had to wait until now for the music to be ready and organic enough to be recorded." Judging from the music on this dynamic debut, it was well worth the wait.