In the shifting sands of modern jazz, a promising new voice has emerged in the form of Emma Rawicz, and her sophomore album, Chroma, is a vibrant testament to her ever burgeoning talent. With Chroma Rawicz offers us a mature and multifaceted listening experience that ultimately showcases her artistry above her technical ability.
One of the salient aspects of Chroma is Rawicz’s compositional savoir faire. “Phlox” brazenly kicks off the album with some konnakol, prefacing the importance that rhythm plays in her writing process. There is no shortage of odd time signatures and complex chords that would even leave Steely Dan scratching their heads, but it’s not self-serving. Instead, Rawicz employs these intricacies as brushstrokes on a canvas, creating vivid and intricate landscapes that draw you in by their style but keep you there for their substance.
Chroma seems to underscore Rawicz’s commitment to emotion-driven music. Each track feels like a heartfelt confession or a whispered secret, delivered through her expressive saxophone and evocative vocals. The fact that she is a singer as well as a saxophonist ensures that her compositions have a melodic anchor from which she departs. Whether she’s exploring the melancholy depths of a ballad as in the gorgeous “Middle Ground” or on a frenetic jazz excursion as in the sprawling “Xanadu” suite, Rawicz’s sincerity and creativity comes through.