Israeli-born vocalist, pianist, composer, and music therapist Noa Fort has a new release, Everyday Actions, her second album as a leader and composer. On this new collection Fort is using her voice and piano to draw abstract musical pictures. Abandoning lyrics almost completely, it is the timbre, tone and emotion in her voice that bring about the lyrical depth of the songs. Borrowing from her work as a therapist, Fort is giving space to the listener to bring his or her own meaning and interpretation to each piece.
Recording began on March 16 2020, moments before NYC went into months-long lockdown. The uncertainty and wariness were in the air as the quartet recorded their takes. Later in the pandemic, Fort decided to continue the project with solo pieces, expressing in sound the solitude that was the characteristic of the past year. Eventually, these became the bulk of the album.
The music celebrates the mundane and the historical, the big and the small. Closing track “Nature’s” evokes the walks in urban nature that kept her sane during months of lockdown; “Rovno” is a piece inspired by the historic Jewish town of Rovno, now in Ukraine, her ancestor’s hometown and the site of a horrific WWII massacre of Jewish families. “Tunnels” and “Everyday Actions” explore the ways repetition with tiny variation can bring about big change. “Endless Tea Party” starts with a single melodic phrase, sung time and time again into the piano’s soundboard and strings; within the soundscape that is created the tune evolves. “Deeping” is an epic twist and turn over a mysterious pedal point. “Home Scratch”, written originally for a group of improvisers, evokes the need to move around while being bound at home. “The Stories We Tell” captures the frustration and anger experienced in an unbalanced relationship. “Song For a New Year”, written while Fort was a composer at residence at a small town in Minnesota as the Jewish New Year was celebrated, captures the optimism of a fresh start in sound.
The wide experience Fort has gained through her work in therapy consequently informs her work as a composer/performer; the minute shifts in mood, attention and color are all taken in as important information. It is in everyday actions that healing can take place, not in the big resolutions that are made and forgotten; changes of pattern, slow attention to daily actions, tiny moments of clarity.
The musicians on the album are:
- Noa Fort – voice, piano, compositions (William Parker, Hamid Drake, Mary Prescott, Simon Jermyn)
- Josh Deutsch – trumpet (Grammy-winning artist, Sofia Rei, Lila Downs, Victor Goines)
- Dan Loomis – bass (Vadim Neselovskyi, Gary Burton, Wycliffe Gordon)
- Ronen Itzik – drums (Lee Konitz, Gary Burton, Kenny Werner, Roy Hargrove, Joe Lovano, Anat Cohen, Ben Monder)
This is a remarkably fresh album bursting with ideas and shifts from the expected and anticipated.
The album released on the independent label, ears&eyes Records, on July 2nd, 2021.
Noa Fort photo by Erika Kapin
The album is featured on World of Jazz 445