Identity Crisis is a Seattle based band made up of songwriting duo Charlie Hiestand and Jean Mishler, along with Brian Kirk (Pointer Sisters), Thane Mitchell (Brand New Heavies) and local jazz musicians, Sura Charlier, Jamael Nance and Nate Parker and many others. Melanie Fernandi, the writer of the third track, "Favorite Game," is an ex-Seattleite currently living in New York.
Although primarily a jazz band, Identity Crisis has made "Mosaic" a CD that uses many styles beyond jazz to tell a story. Each song is its own piece of the story, each in its own musical genre.
Being a love story, the listener is taken from the beginning of a relationship, where love is objectified and obsessive. The songs then reveal attempts at some form of reality in trying to understand and maintain a romantic relationship. The relationship fails and the songs express the consequent sadness, grief, forgiveness and memories.
The story is not directly narrated, but the emotional arc of the CD leaves a powerful impression of textual beauty and style, apparent at the very first hearing.
The songs vary widely in style, from Bossa Nova to eight-bar blues to art song with string orchestra. The story and musical ideas hold the album together. These musical ideas (a particular bass line, orchestrations, etc) give coherence, form, and continuity to the many different styles.
The list of influences for the "If you like..." feature on CDBaby only includes three names. These are a good start, but there are strong influences from many others including Schumann, the Beatles, the Moody Blues, Debussy, Ned Rorem, etc. Charlie likes lots of different kinds of music; in Mosaic he is trying to be eclectic yet true to his tastes.
Listeners who like a variety of musical styles, value strong vocals, thoughtful text, and innovative arrangements will enjoy this album a great deal.