Jessica Pratt’s “Opening Night” is an introspective piano-driven instrumental named after indie film legend John Cassavetes’ 1977 flick of the same name.
In the film, a fading actress, played unforgettably by Cassavetes’ regular, Gena Rowlands, contemplates her future through a weeping existential lens. Just like the aging actress in the film, the jazzy piano chords emanate with a restlessness that’s simultaneously unsettling and fascinating. The brief, less than two-minute odyssey unfolds like a lost Miles Davis B-side.
“Opening Night” marks just one of the nine brilliant pieces that glow with flickering vividness on the Los Angeles-based artist’s third record, Quiet Signs.
Each tune reveals a fearlessness that pulls the listener in and doesn’t let go until the track concludes. Pratt makes her audience hold onto each note.
“Poly Blue” is propelled by flutes frollicking around acoustic guitar. The San Francisco native’s vocals flow freely with triumphant breezy folkiness, akin to Joni Mitchell.
“He’s the lovelorn colors of, somewhat hapless in his touch/ He’s the undiscovered night, a parting line,” Pratt sings. “And while he’s only just been old enough to fall so hard again/ Please know that there’s no other boy like him you’d hope to find – so, young girl, be kind.”
The 32-year-old musician goes deep into a perpetual abyss with “Crossing.” The prose has no grammatical structure, which makes it even more captivating.
“I’ve been singing along to try, to sing along, I sing it all the day/ And you stole my singin’, and you say that you ought to be strong, poison all, all,” Pratt croons. “Oh, did I be seen along and all the way eternal/ Though, you saunter on, long again, I know.”
When the brief yet poignant Quiet Signs concludes, you immediately want more. That’s by design.
“The length of my records isn’t a statement, but I do think it’s a bit of a thing to make super long records these days,” Pratt told Under the Radar. “My aim is to only include the music that I think is essential.”
JESSICA PRATT 8pm Wednesday, May 1. Henry Miller Library (indoors), 48603 Highway 1, Big Sur. Sold out. folkyeah.com