A key element of Fire Dance is the marvelous use of vocal overdubs. As many as 16 tracks on some pieces, ranging from bass to soprano – all sung by Beata in old-school style. No technological shortcuts, no gimmicks… just plain old-fashioned vocal virtuosity – not for its own sake, but woven intrinsically into the musical context of her sumptuous vision.
Although Beata is in the creative forefront of jazz vocal expression, there is a significant World Music influence here, along with some rich doses of R&B. The rhythmic thrust calls to mind the fiery exoticism of Middle Eastern, North African and Eastern European improvisational folk forms, defying category. A major part of this comes from Beata’s utterly unique wordless vocal style, impeccable in its intonation and as fluidly rhythmic as a wind instrument – sometimes serpentine like a shenai or oboe, sometimes as dulcet as an alto flute, and others as warmly beguiling as a muted trumpet – as she soars, dives, coils and shimmers inside, around and through the music. For Beata Pater, Fire Dance is another step in a life journey of totally singular and profound expression.
Reviews of Fire Dance
★★★★ Downbeat Four Stars ★★★★
“Excitingly new… Beata Pater does not utter a word throughout the 11 songs on Fire Dance, opting instead to sing wordless vocals. It’s a bold, daring choice—and it pays off.”
“Polish-born Beata Pater does not utter a word throughout the 11 songs on Fire Dance, opting instead to sing wordless vocals. It’s a bold, daring choice—and it pays off. Now based in Californian, Pater overdubs or layers her voice on every song to as many as 16 times, creating a unique sound as a sort of one-woman choir. She recruits some talented people to enhance her unique project, beginning with composer-pianist Alex Danson, who penned all 11 songs. Pater filled in the spaces with Arabian, Northern African and European music, predominately highly expressive folk songs that range from haunting to joyous. A natural soprano, Pater seems capable of moving easily down the scale all the way to bass. She frequently sings in rat-a-tat staccato, which has the feel of jazz scatting, especially as she plays with consonants as many scat-singers do. She is backed by a solid septet: soprano saxophonist Sam Newsome, tenor saxophonist Anton Schwartz, baritone saxophonist Aaron Lington, keyboardist Scott Collard, bassist Aaron Germain, drummer Alan Hall and percussionist Brian Rice. The opening “Curse Of The Locust,” an enjoyable, rhythmic tune, is our introduction to something excitingly new.”
Bob Protzman Downbeat
“Genius does what genius wants and although that word has been bandied about way too often, it’s apt here as wordless vocalist Beata Pater is engulfed in a Fire Dance of her own creation"
Genius does what genius wants and although that word has been bandied about way too often, it’s apt here as wordless vocalist Beata Pater is engulfed in a Fire Dance (B&B Records) of her own creation. Well, actually composer Alex Danson had a little something to do with it as well since he wrote it all. Pater’s fifth CD has her producing her seven sidemen on Danson’s 11 originals but the arrangement of her vocals is key. Overdubbed on some tracks by as many as 16 layers of her own voice from bass to soprano, buoyed by a three-sax front line plus keys, bass, drums and percussion, it’s a soulful exotic world-beat festival moving and grooving from the Middle East, North Africa and Eastern Europe folk strains to Moroccan “gnawa” music and the Ukraine’s “DakhaBrakha” sound. Pater’s voice serves as a woodwind section all its own. She can sound like an oboe or alto flute. Hey, she may not be singing words but this gal is wildly expressive all the same as she slides, slips, flies, flutters and grunts in a primal yet sophisticated language all her own.
Mike Greenblatt - Aquarian Weekly
“Beata’s true jazz vocal talent just SHINES through… you are in the presence of an absolute vocal master.”
Another absolutely JOYFUL excursion into jazz vocal land… Beata has been reviewed here a couple of times before, most recently in issue # 142, and (as on previous releases), she’s outdone herself again! Just scope out the high-energy title track, “Fire Dance“, to hear why I get so excited every time she puts out a new album… there’s nothing “mysterious”, it’s just her inner spirit’s joy being expressed in a totally professional way through her superb vocals! The eleven all-original tunes were penned by composer/pianist Alex Danson, specifically for Beata to apply her vocal magic to… actually, all you have to listen to is the tune “Harvest Season” to realize that you are in the presence of an absolute vocal master (the tune is short, though, so you will have to use your repeat button/key often – as did I)! My personal favorite track is titled “Curse of the Locust“, and opens the CD… Beata’s true jazz vocal talent just SHINES through on this great song, and ensures that she certainly merits the MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED I’m giving her (and her musical cohorts, as well), with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.99! Get more information on this totally enchanting singer at Beata’s page for this album.
Dick Metcalf Improvijazzation Nation
“…absolutely delightful. Ms. Pater and Alex Danson the composer have come up with fully integrated, interesting, tuneful, well thought out music.”
“I was prepared to be disappointed by this music which was described as wordless vocals, ‘pushing the envelope of vocal artistry’. There was also a very wordy enclosure describing the music, which is sometimes a bad sign, but the music turned out to be absolutely delightful. Ms Pater and Alex Danson the composer have come up with fully integrated, interesting, tuneful, well thought out music, much of it influenced by eastern folk elements, but still suitable to be called jazz, perhaps world jazz would be an appropriate term. Listeners shouldn’t be put off by the track titles; Curse Of The Locusts; Daylight Saving; Sand Dunes; Harvest Season; Fire Dance; The Princess; Round Dance; Flashback; The Quest; Reaping Spell; Ritual. There is a loose narrative feel to the whole work.The voice is one of the instruments of the band, often in the lead, and enhanced by multi-tracking, so the vocals are not scat at all, but are a well-integrated part of the whole. There is a rhythmic thrust which is influenced by North African and Eastern European music. Curse of the Locusts opens with jungle-like drums, then a staccato vocal, a jazz tune moving along well, then the saxes enter, sounding a bit like insects, and the track ends with a kind of resolution with pleasing overdubbed voices. Harvest Season has a peasant dance rhythm, full of joy; The Princess is a drifting, dreamy piece, lots of keys soloing, followed by a very free falling soprano sax. Flashback gives us a drone, eastern sounding vocals, shakers on the percussion, rounded off with jazzy keys. Reaping Spell has constant repetition, like the spell, and Ritual is layered, punchy and vocal driven. The instrumentalists are all well up to the mark. This is Ms Pater’s fifth album – her previous work has been mostly re-imagined jazz standards, and after hearing this album, I’d guess that the previous CDs are well worth the listening.”
John Sanders Bebop Spken Here
“The multi-tracked vocals sometimes have a classic vocal jazz ensemble sound that may remind some of The Swingle Singers or Manhattan Transfer, while the overdubbed wordless sounds may remind some of Bobby McFerrin, but for much of “Fire Dance“, Pater has crafted a sound that is unique to this album.”
Beata Pater’s first five albums could be called ‘typical’ vocal jazz albums, as they featured the usual mix of standards and originals. That’s not to say her vocal approach has not been inspired, instead, she has received high marks for her flexible and fluid style, but no previous album she has made could prepare her followers for her latest, “Fire Dance”. On this new one, Pater employed Alex Danson to write eleven new originals, which Pater then arranged for multiple wordless vocal overdubs supported by a saxophone trio and a four piece electric rhythm section. The end result is a sort of modern big band made up mostly of Pater’s voice multi-tracked up to sixteen times on some cuts. The multi-tracked vocals sometimes have a classic vocal jazz ensemble sound that may remind some of The Swingle Singers or Manhattan Transfer, while the overdubbed wordless sounds may remind some of Bobby McFerrin, but for much of “Fire Dance“, Pater has crafted a sound that is unique to this album.
Musically this album pulls from a variety of styles including modern RnB, post bop and fusion from the Middle East, North Africa, and Eastern Europe. The end result is sometimes similar to Weather Report in the late 70s, or any of Joe Zawinul’s bands since WR. Imagine the Swingle Singers covering classic Weather Report material and you might have a clue as to what is going on here. Along with Pater’s lead vocals, the saxophonists occasionally take short solos, and even exchange in free three way interplay on a couple cuts.
The make or break on here is Pater’s approach to wordless vocals. No doubt this was a very risky record to make, many have a right to fear what an album based around wordless vocals might sound like, but “Fire Dance” is a success due to a very careful use of vocal sounds that never become annoying or embarrassing. Pater is also careful to never overuse the so-called ‘scatting’ technique, a decision that saves this album from potential indulgence. Instead, all of the multi-tracked vocals on here are carefully arranged, much like a complex big band chart. Top tracks include two beautifully abstract numbers that appear in the middle of the CD, title track “Fire Dance” and “The Princess”. Both feature soaring vocals that recall a pre- Renaissance European style, as well as a classic Middle Eastern sound.
John Sanders Jazz Music Archives
"“…impeccable intonation and rhythmic vocalese… Along with the impressive use of vocal overdubs and the rich infusions of R&B, folk forms, and World Music influences, Fire Dance meets the excellent standards Beata set with her previous releases.”
“Beata Pater has released her fifth album for B&B Records with an entirely new methodology to repertoire. Titled Fire Dance, the recording features eleven new compositions written by Alex Danson all of which are exemplary vehicles for Beata’s unique vocalese. Each member of the 7 member band contributes their precise details and improvised visions to her impeccable intonation and rhythmic vocalese. Sam Newsome on soprano saxophone, Anton Schwartz on tenor saxophone, Aaron Lington on baritone saxophone, Scott Collard on keyboards, Aaron Germain on bass and Alan Hall and Brian Rice on drums and percussion provide the robust and enhanced compliments to Beata’s full palette of colors, textures and patterns. Along with the impressive use of vocal overdubs and the rich infusions of R&B, folk forms, and World Music influences, Fire Dance meets the excellent standards Beata set with her previous releases. Check it out and then buy Fire Dance here. Click on the CD cover.”Paula Edelstein, Sounds of Timeless Jazz
“very contemporary fare that is certainly enjoyable.…a distinctly crisp and precise contemporary character sure to please any Pater fan.”
I have only been called out (by name) by another music writer once. But that once was over my review of Beata Pater’s Red (B&B Records, 2013), where my fellow scribe claimed I had reduced the artist’s performance to, ...”a gimmick with a pulse.” That said, Pater releases Fire Dance into her own vacuum. Pater specializes in, for lack of a better term, what can be called “wordless vocals.” This is not scat and it is not vocalese. It is Pater using her voice as an equal ensemble member. She melds well with soprano saxophonist Sam Newsome, tenor saxophonist Anton Schwartz and baritone saxophonist Aaron Lington. This is very contemporary fare that is certainly enjoyable. All the eleven pieces are composed by Romanian born, California-based Alex Danson, bearing a distinctly crisp and precise contemporary character sure to please any Pater fan. https://www.allaboutjazz.com/more-female-vocals-andmore-- cheryl-fisher-natalia-m-king-beata-pater-ellenandersson- cecilia-persson-natalia-m-king-by-c-michaelbailey. phpC. Michael Bailey All About Jazz
"Different shade, different hues, Beata extends the possibilities of the human voice."
Having joined the throngs of fans of Beata Pater and reviewing her previous albums BLUE and RED and GOLDEN LADY you'd think the wonders of this artist's voice and talent would not surprise. But that is simply not the case. Beata Pater has taken a delightful turn into another sublime direction with FIRE DANCE. She returns to the luxury of a backup ensemble to create an enthralling gem of an album, filled with emotional intensity and rich lyricism.
Beata Pater is a Polish born international jazz star, but a star with her own language of music. Classically trained as a violinist in the Music Academy of Warsaw, Pater understands rhythm, pitch, the vocalise, and the juxtaposition of musical lines better than many of our finest classical musicians, and yet she employs all of these traits to her unique gifts as a jazz singer. Rather than concentrating on lyrics Pater instead puts her abilities to the test of communicating a song's meaning through simply using her rather incredible instrument of a voice to produce musical lines instrumentally. She is one unique artist. She has the most creative expanse of musical sounds she can create simply with using her voice to stretch where others dare not go. The result is an aural experience like no other. The voice here becomes the lead instrument challenging her fellow musicians to ride as high as she dares to go.
The ensemble is Beata Pater – vocals, Sam Newsome - soprano sax, Anton Schwartz - tenor sax, Aaron Lington - baritone sax, Scott Collard – keys, Aaron Germain – bass, Alan Hall – drums, and Brian Rice – percussion.
The tracks are Curse of the Locust, Daylight Savings, Sand Dunes, Harvest Season, Fire Dance, The Princess, Round Dance, Flash Back, The Quest, Reaping Spell, and Ritual.
Different shade, different hues, Beata extends the possibilities of the human voice.
by Grady Harp, Amazon
“Tasty stuff that takes jazz vocal to some new places, this is a set that moves creative music forward. “
The wordless vocalist is changing it up this time around. The songs are all originals, she's using vocal overdubs and did the production herself. The result is a more well produced version of what you would typically get from a hippie/art chick and her jazzy pals. This set resides in the out of the ordinary/accessible realm and can easily fill the bill as a summer sunset outing. Tasty stuff that takes jazz vocal to some new places, this is a set that moves creative music forward. Check it out.
Chris Spector, Midwest Record
"presents yet another aspect of this multi-faceted artist’s work"
An earlier album by Beata Pater, Golden Lady (BB 0419), reviewed here, featured her singing a pleasing selection of well-known yet underused songs with just piano and bass accompaniment. On this new release, she sings a collection of wordless songs, all of them originals by Alex Danson, and for these she is joined by a seven-piece band. Rhythmically varied, the music touches on eastern Europe, the Middle East and north Africa, all cloaked in American concepts, including contemporary R&B and jazz/funk. Beata’s vocal sound, soft and intimate, draws the listener in and despite the absence of words succeeds in creating a warmly intimate and lyrical air. The nature of the songs heard here showcases Beata’s musical skill, honed though training as a violinist at Warsaw’s Music Academy, and also as a session singer in Japan. The singer’s accompanists here are saxophonists Sam Newsome, Anton Schwartz, Aaron Lington, keyboard player Scott Collard, bassist Aaron Germain, drummer Alan Hall, and percussionist Brian Rice. Adding immeasurably to the texture of these performances, use is made by Beata of multi-tracking, thus creating a highly effective vocal chorale. The absence of lyrics enhances the Beata’s role as a fully integrated member of the ensemble, her voice being used instrumentally. An attractive album that presents yet another aspect of this multi-faceted artist’s work.Bruce Crowther, Jazz Mostly
"her concept is fresh and Pater’s vocal intonation is stellar"
Pater’s concept is to utilize her extraordinary vocal range and sing multi-parts, from deep alto to high soprano, sometimes using as many as sixteen studio tracks to accomplish her determined goal.…her concept is fresh and Pater’s vocal intonation is stellar.
This project is unusual in that the artist’s vocals are used entirely like an instrument; no words spoken nor stories unfolding. This is comfortable background music that explores the art of scatting with the concentration on melody rather than storytelling. Beata Pater uses vocal layering as a technique to interpret eleven compositions. She invited Alex Danson to the project as her unique and gifted composer. Pater’s concept is to utilize her extraordinary vocal range and sing multi-parts, from deep alto to high soprano, sometimes using as many as sixteen studio tracks to accomplish her determined goal. At times, her sound reminds me of someone using a vocoder or vocal harmonizing device. According to the liner notes, Ms. Pater would rather be considered a lead instrumentalist than a vocalist, flipping the idea upside down that a jazz group has to simply support the singer. Instead, she melts her unique vocals into the world-music stew pot, becoming the meat of the matter. Yes, I said ‘World Music’ because this is not Be-bop, like Manhattan Transfer, or ‘Swing ‘ Jazz. The Danson compositions lend themselves to various cultures and musical credos. There’s nothing “Straight Ahead” here, but rather a comfortable blend of easy listening, instrumental productions. You might easily hear this recording on a World Music program, NPR, or alternative and smooth jazz stations. From an artistic perspective, I appreciate Beata Pater’s desire to color her music outside the designated lines and vocally step outside the box. However, as a lover of jazz and improvisation, and because improvisation is one of the most important facets of jazz music, the structured way this project is recorded appears more classical than spontaneous; especially when it comes to the vocals. Additionally, I miss hearing a story or lyrics delivered emotionally by the vocalist. Without the use of a vocoder, I wonder how this concept could be reproduced on concert stages as a ‘live’ performance. However, as a recorded project, her concept is fresh and Pater’s vocal intonation is stellar.Dee Dee McNeil, Musical Memoirs
“It doesn’t sound like anything else you’re likely to hear this year. Very cool.”
Does anyone remember D’Cuckoo? Back in the 1980s they played a sort of pan-ethnic percussion-based electronica, with wordless vocals and lots of rhythmic layers. Now try to imagine that group collaborating with 1970s fusioneers the Yellowjackets, and that gives a pretty good idea of what to expect from Beata Pater’s latest album. She sings wordlessly (but I wouldn’t exactly call it “scatting”) in harmonically complex multitracked layers over smoothly funky jazz-fusion backing that incorporates subtle elements from lots of other world traditions. It doesn’t sound strange, exactly, but it also doesn’t sound like anything else you’re likely to hear this year. Very cool.Rick Anderson, CD Hotlist
Beata Pater - vocal
Sam Newsome - soprano sax
Anton Schwartz - tenor sax
Aaron Lington - baritone sax
Scott Collard - keys
Aaron Germain - bass
Alan Hall - drums
Brian Rice - percussion
Produced by Beata Pater
All compositions by Alex Danson
Mix and Mastering Engineer - Dan Feiszli
Recording Engineer - Dan Feiszli
Recording Engineer - Mike Gibson
Recording Engineer - John Davis
Cover Photo - Jacqueline Amparo
Executive Producer - Mike Gibson
Fire Dance on the Radio
|KCSM||SF Bay Area, CA|
|KCRW||Los Angeles, CA|
|Pure Jazz Radio||New York City/Online|
|Noc z Jedynką||Polish Radio One, Warsaw|
|WHFC||Bel Air, MD|
|Jazz with Jeff Bridges||Syndicated|
|Hawaii Public Radio||Honolulu, HI|
|WWOZ||New Orleans, LA|
|KCSB||Santa Barbara, CA|
|Bay FM 100.3||Brisbane, Australia|
|KZSC||Santa Cruz, CA|
|Jazz and Blues Tour Radio||The Netherlands|
|KTEP||El Paso, TX|
|CHMR*||St Johns, NF|
|WWSP||Stevens Point, WI|
|KASU||Arkansas State Univ|
|KABF||Little Rock, AR|
|WBGU||Bowling Green, OH|
|KEOL||La Grande, OR|
|WUMD||North Dartmouth, MA|
|WGVU||Grand Rapids, MI|
|Jazz from the Gallery||Online|
|* indicates top 10|