As far as I can tell, everyone who hears Carmen Staaf play piano becomes an evangelist of her music. Hearing Carmen’s music makes you want to run outside, grab someone by the shoulders, and say, “Yeah, but have you checked THIS out?"
Carmen seems to have all of the gifts. Often, when I hear a musician whose chops let them articulate really complex rhythmical ideas there’s a “tightness” or a clockwork detachment from the music. Carmen’s music is lyrical, melodically driven, fluid and, at the same time, complexly orchestrated. The music almost feels like it has too many moving parts to move so liquidly and feel so free. This trio—made complete with Michael Formanek on bass and Jeff Williams on drums—can freely improvise a track that sounds like it took months to compose.
If you’ve been paying attention, you already know about Carmen. She’s been playing in various ensembles with Allison Miller (including Boom Tic Boom, Parlour Game, or their stellar co-led effort Science Fair). No less than Herbie Hancock and Wynton Marsalis are vocal fans of her music. I can’t wait to get this album out, and to further proselytize the arrival of a truly unique voice and a great artist.