The Cusp

A 9 track crossover jazz album (56m 26s) — released February 7th 2011 on Edition Records
The Cusp is the third album from Robert Mitchell's Panacea and the group's first on EDITION RECORDS. The Cusp is a negotiation of vision and territory. It's not a facile carving out of ground in an already overcrowded market-place. For pianist and composer Robert Mitchell it's a matter of securing a space for a highly personal aesthetic. Panacea was the Greek goddess of medicine and cures. In Mitchell's world the healing finds its expression in song. The Cusp is the sharp intake of breath before you reply. The title track with fine Fender Rhodes and lyrics from Mitchell and spoken word from HKB Finn cries out for social and ecological transformation while finding solace in the emotional renewal that comes from parenthood. Aura's angular strings and piano auger a lyric that calls for the transcending of all those things that divide us, not just racially, ethnically or sexually but interpersonally as well, while Mio Inamorato with just voice and piano is about the determination to rescue a relationship gone stale. These songs are an antidote to rock bombast, the misogyny and misandry of R&B and the tired reliance on the Great American Songbook. Hardly surprising then that Mitchell finds inspiration for his adult themes and concerns in the lyrics of such diverse and distinctive writers as Prince, Paddy McAloon of Prefab Sprout and singer Norma Winstone. The Cusp is simultaneously modern jazz and contemporary soul music. In Mitchell's piano one hears echoes of the harmonies of Bill Evans and the warm, Caribbean melodies of Andrew Hill, while his skilled deployment of strings suggests the intriguing influence of European art music. In the gentle and expressive tones of singer Deborah Jordan, Mitchell has found the perfect voice for his words of healing, while his rhythm team move between jazz, rock and soul with accomplished ease. You will hear nothing else like The Cusp this year. Literate, articulate and authoritative – The Cusp is a work of pride, integrity and remarkable maturity.

Pianist/composer Robert Mitchell is without doubt one of the most interesting and talented musicians I know of - Django Bates

Mitchell is a lyricist and a thinker, and British jazz is far richer for his presence - Metro

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