Calmness comes in the wake of starting flutist Ann Licater’s “Doorway to A Dream.” It comes quickly, envelops you completely, and stays until well after the disc is done. Licater’s souful flute songs, the majority of which take their cue from Native American music, arc, soar and drift. A diversity of sound comes from her array of instruments; Licater breathes her dreams into life with Native American flutes, Anasazi flutes, Chinese xiao, silver alto and more. She also enlists the help of musicians who bring their own touches to many of the 14 pieces here. Troy Arnett’s piano, by turns delicate and strong, buffets Licater’s playing on “Earth and Sky” while Jose Neto’s electric sitar finds moments in which to brings a soul-stirring edge to the flow. Guitarist Shambhu softly augments Licater on the airy madrigal “Angel Bird.” Peter Phippen’s shakuhachi dances playfully with her on “Divine Love.” And because you can never have enough flugelhorn, Jeff Oster brings his in to add a second subtle breath to “Radiance.”
The draw here, obviously, is Licater’s flute work, which is flawless and shows an excellent range of style. The purest example is “Xiao Garden,” where the sound of Licater drawing breath between notes makes the piece stunningly intimate. There are only three things here: flute, breath, and the silent moments between. Or listen to “Into the Heart,” where David DiLullo’s African udu taps out a world-beat bed for Licater to float and spin across. Sensual and affecting. This is a superb CD and, being only her second, marks just the beginning for an impressive new artist. I’m looking forward to more from Ann Licater.
Available at Ann Licater’s web site.