Mika Stoltzman, marimbas – If You Believe [TrackList follows] – self ****:

(Mika Stolzman – marimbas; Steve Gadd – drums (1, 4, 5, 7-10, 12), congas (3), percussion (4, 8), producer; Richard Stolzman – clarinet (2-5, 8-11); John Tropea – guitar (2, 3, 6, 8, 10); Eddie Gomez – bass (2-4, 6-10); Duke Gadd – drums (2, 3, 6, 8), percussion (8); Harlem String Quartet (1, 4, 7))

Mika Stolzman is the wife of famed classical clarinest Richard Stolzman, which is why he’s also present on most of the tracks of the dozen-track CD. There are a number of vibists who also double on marimba, but that usually doesn’t dominate their programs, whereas Mike Stolzman places the marimba first in her musical world. The addition of the skilled clarinet of Richard Stoltzman adds considerably to this diverse CD.

All of this music was either written or arranged especially for her, and though she isn’t exactly a jazz artist, with names such as Chick Corea, Eddie Gomez, Steve Gadd and Bill Douglas involved, it puts the CD in the jazz category. Mika is a truly a fine borderless world music artist, and the selections cover such areas as Ireland, Brazil, the tropics in general, and even a mix of Bach and funk in “Funky Little Fugue.”  The Harlem String Quartet adds a touch of classical backing on some of the tracks, making this a quite unique album. Five of the pieces were written for Mika by trumpeter-composer Bill Douglas, and she really swings on the piece Chick Corea wrote for her, “Marika Groove.” Corea’s famed “La Fiesta” is also heard in an arrangement by Edsel Gomez.


Mikalypso; Funky Little Fugue; BECO; La Fiesta; Irish Spirit: Ballad/Celebration Dance; Sambata; Jubilation; The Last Mojitos; Marika Groove; Cantabile; Pavane; Crazy Marimba

—John Henry