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La Presse, Montreal - Arts et spectacles, 3 Decembre 2005

Disques****(four stars)
Originaire de la Saskatchewan, a l’instar de son ainee Joni Mitchell, cette residante de Victoria (Colombie-Britannique) a frappe dans le mille des son premier opus. Voila une artiste de haute tenue si l’on s’en tient a Twelve Easy Pieces, un disque d’une qualite etonnante-realise modestement avec le soutien du Conseil des Arts du Canada. Formee entre quatres par la legendaire Sheila Jordan, cette ex-etudiante de McGill respire le talent, la rigueur et le gout. Cette voix parfaitement juste, sans vibrato, revele un timbre identifiable des la premiere mesure, d’autant plus que les harmonisations autour de la guitare acoustique que la chanteuse joue impeccablement (sans compter le violon), l’instrumentation s’y avere subtile, diversifiee, profondement organique-saxos, orgue Hammond B3, piano, bandoneon, contrebasse, percussions, etc. Le personnel y est chevronne et multicultural, d’ou ces ponctions convaincantes de tradition latin-americaine. Mieux encore, le jazz folk epure et subtil, qui n’a d’autre abjet que de nourrir le melomane en toute limpidite. Qu’on se le dise, Anne Schaefer est deja une musicienne de premier plan. —Alain Brunet




The Vancouver Sun - October 20, 2005

Canada’s West Coast has a new singer-songwriter who deserves to be heard by a wide audience. Her name is Anne Schaefer, and her debut disc is a thing of beauty. Schaefer, a Victoria resident who also plays guitar and violin, sets a haunting mood with the opening Drowning Man, a dark-shaded ballad with effective trumpet playing by Daniel Lapp. She brings her four years of living in Argentina to El Hablador, sung in Spanish, where the band achieves a tango feel led by Schaefer’s violin and Douglas Schmidt’s bandoneon. Enough Is Enough mixes folk and Latin forms, and Pearls has a Latin American flavor, not to mention superb soprano sax work from Bill Runge. Schaefer’s vocal range expands on Perception, a song about opening your eyes to everyday details. One of the best numbers is the lyric-less Circle, on which Schaefer plays five instruments and Scott White uses the bow on his upright bass. She also takes the lyric-less route on Calor, a scat number free of clichés. As a singer and songwriter, Schaefer most closely resembles Britain’s Julia Fordham, with jazz and Latin in the mix. This is a disc worth buying, and an artist worth watching out for. —Mark Andrews




Toronto Star - September 8, 2005

This stunning debut by Vancouver-based Schaefer fuses Latin jazz, African and Celtic forms with a free-form approach to rhthm and melody, not unlike Van Morrison’s and the late Laura Nyro’s ability to comprehend and explore links between discrete genres separated by decades of commercial refinement. Which is not to suggest that the songs here are in any way derivative or retro. This is compellingly modern music about very modern realities – addiction, alienation, betrayal, sexual abandon – performed by an artist in full possession of unique qualities: An exceptional voice, a poet’s eye, a courageous heart, and a damn fine set of guitar-picking fingers. To say nothing of her exquisite taste in musical friends – trumpeter Daniel Lapp, bandoneon player Doug Schmidt, saxophonist Bill Runge, and trombonist Hugh Fraser. It may have taken its time, but Twelve Easy Pieces has found a permanent home in this reviewer’s collection. —Greg Quill




Espace Musique, Radio Canada, Vancouver - October, 2005

Anne Schaefer’s first album, Twelve Easy Pieces, is on of those discs that you want to keep near your player. She is a great musician with a clear love for jazz and world music…she blends it all with taste and tells lots of absorbing stories with a precise voice and formidable sense of melody. The press release says: The birth of a new star- You better believe it, in fact it is an understatement.

(en francaise)

Anne Schaefer est une compositrice, chanteuse, multi-instrumentiste de l’Ile Vancouver. Elle propose, sur ce premier disque, de superbes melodies avec des texts temoignant d’une vie mouvementee, influencee par le Jazz et les Musiques du Monde. Twelve Easy Pieces- un premier album signe par une artiste non ordinaire, a decouvrir d’urgence. —Andre Rheaume



 

Monday Magazine, Victoria - October 13, 2004

Despite the simplicity of the title, it seems unlikely that there was anything “easy” about these refreshingly original and gorgeously recorded tracks, all penned by Schaefer. A nice blend of standard and electro jazz stylings, with just enough of her own Argentinian background to keep things fresh, Twelve Easy Pieces easily stands the test of time-I’ve been listening to it at least twice a week for the past few months, and it still enthralls me. Top-quality backing work by the likes of pianist Joby Baker, drummer Kelby MacNayr, bassist Scott White, bone master Hugh Fraser and the unstoppable Daniel Lapp, plus Schaefer’s own haunting voice and guitar work, make this easily one of the finest local albums ever produced. —John Threlfall




The Times Colonist, Victoria - October 3, 2004

Vocalist Anne Schaefer is celebrating the pre-release of her new CD, Twelve Easy Pieces. It showcases a dozen impressive original songs that reflect Schaefer’s classically trained musicianship, jazz daring and road-won wisdom. Backed by an all-star band of local jazz musicians including Danil Lapp, High Fraser, Joby Baker, Kelby MacNayr and Scott White, the vocalist-instumentalist-bandleader uncorks an impressive collection of evocative performances. It’s an eclectic canon reflecting Schaefer’s years in Saskatchewan, Montreal, Argentina, and for the last couple of years, Victoria. There are echoes of her travels in the tunes’ Latin and Middle-Eastern percussion and Spanish-sung lyrics of one of Twelve Easy Pieces’ most powerful tracks, El Hablador. Baker and Leon Torres produce a roiling, Latin music-inspired cross-rhythm beneath Schaefer’s vocal improvisations on Enough Is Enough. Her adventurous vocal phrasing is impressive on Pearls, too, a performance sweetened by Bill Runge’s soprano sax and the vocalist’s contributions on guitar and violin. This is a brilliant debut CD. —Joseph Blake