The second album of New York-based, Israeli-born vocalist-pianist-composer-music therapist (and former biologist) Noa Fort, «Everyday Action», focuses on the timbre, tone, and emotion in her expressive voice that emphasizes the lyricism of her abstract songs. Fort began to record this album with her quartet – trumpeter Josh Deutsch, bassist Don Loomis (bass) and fellow Israeli drummer Ronen Itzik – (drums) in March 2020, moments before New York went into months-long Covid-19 pandemic lockdown. But this recording evolved into a mostly solo project, reflecting in sound the solitude, uncertainty and wariness that were in the air.
The nine, intimate songs of «Everyday Action» capture distinct moods and thoughts, blurring the lines between composed and improvised, and celebrate the mundane and the timeless, the big and the small. Fort’s experience suggests that healing can take place in everyday actions, and not necessarily in the big resolutions that are made and forgotten; therefore, Fort is attuned to small changes of patterns, attention to daily actions, and tiny moments of clarity.
The opening song, «Endless Tea Party’» features Fort singing a melodic phrase into the piano’s soundboard and strings, and improvising gently on this simple phrase. The only song with lyrics, «The Stories We Tell», offers a sober and somewhat ironic perspective over a frustrating and clearly unbalanced relationship. The contemplative and introspective «Tunnels», the title piece and «Deeping» sketch fragile melodies that blossom with tiny variations, and according to Fort, stress that sometimes repetition can bring about significant change. «Home Scratch» is playful improvisation for voice and piano, evoking the need to move around while being bound at home.
The most impressive songs here are the melancholic and dramatic «Rovno», inspired by the town by this name in Ukraine, Fort’s ancestor’s hometown, and a place known for the horrific WWII massacre of Jewish families. The following song, «Song For a New Year», changes the atmosphere quickly. It was composed while Fort was a composer-in-residence at a small town in Minnesota during the celebration of the Jewish New Year and captures beautifully the feeling of optimism and fresh beginning. This kind of optimistic atmosphere is also reflected in the dance-like interplay of Fort’s vocal with trumpeter Deutsch and bassist Loomis.
Fort ends this series with «Nature», a song that evokes the peaceful walks in urban nature that comforted Fort during the lockdowns and highlighting the healing power of Fort’s songs.
Noa Fort (v, p), Josh Deutsch (tp), Dan Loomis (b), Ronen Itzik (dr)