Vanessa Collier, Meeting My Shadow. Album Review.


Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * *

In the heart of all things must exist the person and their shadow, it may be steeped in ancient folklore and stories passed down that the significance between the individual and their silhouette is paramount, it is something that is framed neatly in the story of Peter Pan, in astronomy as the shadow side of the Sun is named Lilith, the dark side of the Biblical Adam and his first wife, it is the frantic search for duality, the remains of our alter ego and the whisper that they can cause havoc, create illusion and dream the impossible, is not lost on human perception and history.

Vanessa Collier, a singer from the state of Maryland and one damned fine saxophonist, has taken the trouble to illuminate such mindful theory as she delves into her own psyche, her own interesting life to bring songs that bear such moments that history, the past and future can bring together in the superb and tantalising Meeting My Shadow.

Even if you had not had the pleasure of making time for Vanessa Collier before, in Meeting My Shadow such pleasure is only inevitable for in her       distinct way of playing, the loneliness, the heart ache, the absolute joy of her chosen instrument dedicating itself to wholesome Blues and the offer of a hand to take the listener past the litter and the remains of outdated pride that came with the genre in its period of free-fall abandon, Vanessa Collier strikes a bargain between the shadow and the real and comes out on top.

Life is full of challenge, some deep down and dirty, perhaps some even insurmountable, such is there extreme, but they should always be faced with a grin and pact to land at least several punches; Life, like Time, may only in one particular fashion but it does not mean it cannot be confronted, that it can be defied and forced to admit you are more than the shadow.

In tracks such as the brilliant opener Poisoned The Well, the affirming and foot stamping Two Parts Sugar, One Part Lime, the sublime Whisky and Women and Up Above My Head, I Hear Music In The Air, the Maryland Queen of Sax becomes a force of uncontrollable pleasure, the freedom of the music ear catching and one in which the musician and her shadow are more than tales in the dark, they are the tremendous illumination that lights up the room.

We should all meet our shadow at some point in our lives; we are after all always attached to it.

Ian D. Hall