Barbara Sfraga "Under the Moon" at Joe's Pub
The evening showcases Sfraga's versatility, as well as the advantage of having her own band behind her; Thompson, her fluid and sensitive drummer, is not on the release. (The Chicago-based label chose Paul Wertico, who won a bunch of Grammies with Pat Metheny but, to these ears, didn't really "get" Sfraga's approach.) At the same time, her music takes on new colors with the contributions of Frisell-ish guitarist John McLean in the studio and the excellent Bill Pernice in performance. Whatever the personnel, it's clear that Barbara Sfraga is a huge talent, a true musician who uses deliberation and skill as well as intuition to make her very personal and thoroughly engaging music. As Bill Milkowski says in his finely detailed liner notes," [Sfraga] is of the tradition while actively seeking to reinvent it."
You know, on second thought, that fairy princess analogy doesn't really work. Sfraga wasn't wanded by some mystical grandmother she's worked altogether too hard to get where she is. Cinderella would be closer, but there's still no cigar, since Sfraga's spell doesn't end at midnight. It's readily available on "Under the Moon" and whenever she performs.
Under the Moon can be found at all online and brick retail outlets.