‘This Life’ by Jenny Hallahan Quartet is an EP that features five distinct tunes that are all linked to life’s themes. The album is devoid of vocals. Instead it relies on a blend of the piano, bass, synth and drums, as well as the saxophone.
Jenny is predominantly an electric bass guitarist, and a seasoned jazz performer with over a decade of experience in Ireland and abroad. With the funding she received from the Arts Council of Ireland in 2020, she was able to form her own Quartet. This can be heard on the album “This Life.” Jenny adds that in addition to life, the record was influenced by some of her favorite jazz musicians. This includes the likes of Alpha Mist, Pino Palladino, and Avishai Cohen.
Despite the fact that the songs are all played on the same instruments, they all have their own distinct sound. The album’s title track, “The Life,” is upbeat and energetic from the outset. It begins with drums and piano building a melody, subsequently expanded upon by the saxophone. The saxophone takes the stage after around the first third of the song. This is followed by a breezy piano solo that’s easy to get lost in.
The second track, ‘Breathe,’ begins with dismal piano sounds. The saxophone enters next, and the two of them work together to set the song’s momentum and beats. There are solo points as the song progresses, and the saxophone takes centre stage. ‘ Breathe’ is a song that makes you thankful for life and ends on a happy note.
The next track, ‘Without Time,’ begins with simply the drums. It starts off as a slower, more solemn track that sounds reflective and peaceful. As the piano solo begins, the tune entirely changes and you feel as if you’re listening to a different song. That is, until the rest of the quartet returns to accentuate the new melody for the remainder of the song.
‘A Wise Man Once Said‘ sounds like a homage to other people’s guidance that has proven its worth through time. The bass serves as the track’s backbone. The drums produce an extremely quick beat in this fast-paced song. The outcome is a sound that keeps the listener engaged for the entire duration of the track.
‘Swerve‘ is the EP’s final tune. While the tracks that came before it were all joyful, this one seems to end the album on a somber note. In a way, it brings the listener full circle. It is hopeful and longing at the same time, as if a reminder to look forward to what is still to come. This is particularly apparent in the piano solo near the end of the song.
‘The Life’ is a fascinating and thought-provoking piece of work. It presents the artist’s perspective on some of life’s most prevalent components. And, true to Jazz, it encourages listeners to put their own spin on it!