Feature piece on Nancy Ruth and ‘Sangria Jam’ in April’s Cadence Magazine
NANCY RUTH SANGRIA JAM (2016 SELF) The core of music is like a new road open to you; you do not know where it leads but travel it well with respect, for the destination is up to you alone. With memories and love attached to each note, music is the one journal of your trip through life that is allowed to exhume romantic and living emotions with the touch of a single chord. This occurs when the music sheets and arrangements become the second-class citizen and the heart becomes center stage for the artist. Many times this is defined as the “Feel” of the artist but it also through the archives of jazz history known as the “Jam.”
There is no other exciting occurrence on stage than that of a collection or artists just going with the sound and letting it take them to parts unknown. This is the quest Canadian born vocalist Nancy Ruth took and conquered with the weapons of her heart, soul, and memories; newly sharpened, to take the journey towards the Sangria Jam. When I asked Ms. Ruth about her new project and what influenced her, she expressed it in this fashion, “My main inspiration for the Sangria Jam CD was my 15 years of living in Malaga Spain; learning the culture in all its beauty and ‘picaresca’”… Ms. Ruth further elaborated, “I came here alone, with no money, job, contacts or ambitions, other than to find my own voice. I think the lyrics to ‘Temporary Home’ and ‘Beauty in the Ruins’ best describe some of my experiences, as well as ‘Jasmine Tree’…. It’s been a huge adventure, following my instincts, all logic tossed aside.”
Ms. Ruth, the sultry “Flamenco Echo” has her roots firmly embedded in the jazz culture and branches off to the flamenco and Latin stylings with deep insight and innovation. Sangria Jam is encased in originals, with music and lyrics by Ms. Ruth herself, thus expressing her past transformation and relocation to a whole new existence in Spain. Through out time jazz has had many relationships with other styles of music but none so endearing as with flamenco. Ms. Ruth expounds on this with her passion and bringing the two together adding to the historic romance.
In the fourth cut Buleria #1 the beat the ivories project from the start come at you with a fever pitch just igniting the fire in the belly. The first chorus comes in on a cloud but the ignition of the flamenco style just upped the octane of the listeners driven soul with ivories and skins afire. Your passions will be driven by a thousand nails, as you fall into this well constructed vibrant echo called Temporary Home, the ninth cut on this spin. Written by Ms. Ruth, The solo string manipulation of guitarist Luis Robisco is outstanding and then after a well scripted chorus, the sizzling sax solo of Manuel Olmo just drives the cut into a new and exciting dimension which exits the piece with ones heart is still beating full speed.
The nucleus of Sangria Jam is the pulse of Ms. Ruth with her past meeting the present in body and soul. The foundation is her Canadian roots seeded in a little log cabin to the adventure she undertook back to her homeland of Spain. There Ms. Ruth found solace in her spirit and music, which together inspired her melodic and lyrical gifts. The project takes the listener to all compass points of her voyage by blanketing them with her flamenco beat and tucking them away with her lively ballads. Sangria Jam not only designs Ms. Ruth and a global storyteller but also an innovative jazz pedagogue.
-Karl Stober, Cadence, The Independent Journal of Creative Improvised Music
Issue: http://www.cadencejazzmagazine.com/membersonly/admin/assets/CadenceApril2017%20.pdf P. 164