Saturday, August 28, 2021

Air Cool Jenny: “First Flight” (2021) CD Review

Air Cool Jenny is the duo of Helen Rose and Kramer Sanguinetti. They met in New York, and are currently based in the Los Angeles area. You might be familiar with Helen Rose from her solo work. A few years ago she released an EP titled Just Before It Gets Dark, its title track an absolutely gorgeous song that you should check out. She also released a full-length album titled Trouble Holding Back, which includes a song titled “A Dangerous Tender Man” that is a total knockout. In addition to her fantastic vocal work, she plays tenor saxophone. Kramer Sanguinetti plays several instruments, including guitar, pedal steel and piano, and teaches classes on guitar and reading music. The duo’s debut EP, First Flight, features original material. Joining them on this release are Bryan Webber on bass, and Kirkland Middleton on drums.

The EP opens with “Pelican,” which begins as a sweet-sounding folk number, with acoustic guitar and wonderful harmonies. “I saw a pelican swimming upstream,” they tell us. And then after a minute and a half, the track kicks in, taking on more energy and a country rock vibe, as they repeat the opening lines. Brendan Moore joins them on organ for this track, contributing some nice work. “Even with wings/You’ve got to land/If you’re always up high/You’ll never see the sky.” Helen Rose lets it rip vocally toward the end, and the song carries you away. It’s a strong track, growing as it reaches its conclusion. Then “When I Rise” begins in a pretty, gentle place, with Helen Rose singing “When I rise, I want to see your eyes/It’s the way, oh the way you look at me, you look at me.” Yes, a love song. If you’re in a good relationship (and I hope you are), you completely understand where they’re coming from here. And during the instrumental section, Helen delivers a beautiful lead on saxophone.

These guys don’t stay in one place or mood too long, following the pretty “When I Rise” with “Pissin’ On The Moon,” a totally fun, fast-paced country number, a different sort of love song (I have to remember to play it for my girlfriend). Here is a taste of the lyrics: “Wish you were here with me/Pissin’ on the moon/Pissin’ on the moon/I’m pissin’ on the moon/Kissin’ and pissin’ on the moon.” This one features some excellent work on electric guitar, and is over all too soon. The EP concludes with “The River’s Gone,” a thoughtful song inspired by the increase in storms and flooding in the south, and featuring some beautiful touches on saxophone. “The world is changing/Faster than our minds can bend/The levee holds the water/The water holds our sins/When the river’s gone/We can’t wash away our sins.” Those are some excellent lyrics. With the human-caused climate change, we can expect more flooding and fires in our futures. “And I’m sorry for the future/And I’m mad at the past/Stuck in the present/Tryin’ to make every moment last.”

CD Track List

  1. Pelican
  2. When I Rise
  3. Pissin’ On The Moon
  4. The River’s Gone

First Flight is scheduled to be released on September 10, 2021.

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