REVIEWS 

“Rejto’s flute is rich in long, affirmative phrases decorated by all manner of trills, tremolos, growls, and other effects that never descend into gimmickry.”  Leonard Feather, Naked Emotions

"My Funny Valentine” is sad, a low flute with prodigious vibrato.  Low, she weeps; on the bridge she takes some high flutters with brightest purity.  The theme concludes and come the solo Nika is classical, taking her time with graceful notes.  We proceed, and she turns happy; some high whoops, a rapid run up the stairs, and woven patterns before she grows simple and calm. At the end theme we find her high and optimistic, the birds chirp, and when the vibrato returns at the close, it doesn’t seem so sad.” 
Jazz Improv, Bridge Weaver

"Flutist Nika Rejto soars on this new addition...Compared to the great James Moody, Nika once again teases our souls and delights our ears with Such Pristine Flute Playing it is hard to imagine that she is not touring the world."
All About Jazz, Midnite Kiss

"If you don’t MELT to this one you need to kick.-start your soul” 
Jazz Now, Midnight Kiss

"Nika's done it again, except this time it’s magical. She plays flute like no other...I went on a journey listening to the clips and I'll never forget it. Buy this cd...you won't regret it. She is a master at her trade, and her compositions are fantastic too."
Robert, Teazing Socrates


JAZZ IMPROV, Spring 1999, John Barrett, Jr.

The piano steps in mournfully and speaks quietly to itself.  Then she arrives - My Funny Valentine is sad, a low flute with prodigious vibrato.  Low, she weeps; on the bridge she takes some high flutters with brightest purity.  The theme concludes and come the solo Nika is classical, taking her time with graceful notes.  We proceed, and she turns happy; some high whoops, a rapid run up the stairs, and woven patterns before she grows simple and calm.  At the end theme we find her high and optimistic, the birds chirp, and when the vibrato returns at the close, it doesn't seem so sad.
   The daughter of a famous cellist, Nika Rejto is possessed of great speed and impressive technique, which My Funny Valentine has in abundance.  Personally, I like her tone best when she plays simply.  How Insensitive has a marvelous intro, and sadness greater than the previous tune and all its vibrato.  The direct approach serves her well, and results in the best tracks.
   Naima features a warm grace, helped by the mellow presence of Dmitri Matheny.  They sound great on the unison parts; this one is a keeper.  Matheny sticks around for Mingus' Jelly Rolls; both horns are throaty and have fun as they romp around the theme.  Matheny sounds like  a trombone at one point, and Nika is her most bluesy. An original, A Song for Abraham (heard again later, this time with evocative words) is a gentle sunny day, with Nika sounding like recorder at the end.  The warmth really shines on a tender Chelsea Bridge (Matheny again used to great effect on the ensemble parts) and My Romance, which has Nika and Rick Vandivier waltzing in a gorgeous duet.  His brief solo is a joy to behold, and a highlight of the disc.  The gentle moments glow, and as a whole it's a pleasant listen.  While I think Nika's solos could be better (sometimes they sound like streams of technique), there is definitely talent here, and Nika could make some impact on the tiny world of jazz flute.


Nika Rejto at the Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society!
Jazz Now, May 1999

Red Holloway was actually the featured performer at the Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society, and he was everything you would expect:  soulful, wonderfully skilled, humorous, and just a touch off‑color.  But you've already read reviews of his gigs by Francesca Nemko and others in these pages, so I won't add one more to their number. What was new to me was a flautist named Nika Rejto (pronounced "Right‑oh") whom Red introduced during his second set.  The audience was polite but skeptical as she launched into "Emily," but within about thirty seconds a massive attitude readjustment took place.  Even before she got through the melody, Nika put her stamp on the song.  She drew out the notes a bit longer, slipped little introspective flurries of notes into the rests, played with the beat, and generally put us on notice that this was going to be special. And special it was.  Occasionally musicians lock on the same wavelength, feed on each other's performance, and outdo themselves, playing way above their normal level.  Nika seemed to do this, but it was the audience's wavelength that she locked onto.  Her improvisation was beautiful, imaginative, swinging, anything but predictable; but what we were really hearing out in the seats was how much she meant every note of it.  We got personally involved in her effort; it was as though we were making the journey with her, note by note.  Of course Red wouldn't let her go with just one song, so she encored with "Autumn Leaves."  She started with an almost percussive cadenza, spitting the notes out of her flute, and I remember seeing the piano player waiting for the melody, looking worried, knowing it would come flying out of nowhere and he'd have to handle it like a catcher with a  burning fastball.  And it came and she was off.  The rhythm section provided a beautiful platform for her, but it was the audience she was dancing with.  Someone actually screamed, the experience was that intense.  And then it was over and she was gone.  Red came back on, and he and alto saxophonist Pat Britt wrapped it up with "The Eternal Triangle."  Played at a tempo of something like a bar a second, it was the ultimate cutting‑contest song.  But for us in the audience it was still a spectator sport, tame stuff after shooting the rapids with Nika.

by Robert Tate


LIQUID LOVE
JAZZ NOW, February 2000,  Jack Bowers   
                        

"A debut that almost demands an encore, this reviewer wrote in summing up his appraisal of Bridge Weaver, Nika Rejto's previous release on Unika Records.  Here, to answer that request, is Rejto's second endeavor as leader of her sextet and it is not less compelling and in some ways even more impressive than the first.  Rejto opens with pedal-to-the floorboard treatments of Billy Strayhorn's Take the A Train and Johnny Mercer's Autumn Leaves. Rejto and her sidekicks present a flawless illustration of what swinging mainstream jazz is all about. 
   After those fireworks one welcomes a respite, which arrives in the form of Rejto's passionate reading of Thad Jones' delicate ballad A Child is Born.  Other highlights include Gershwin's Summertime, Sammy Fain/Paul Francis Webster's Academy Award winning Secret Love, a funky rendition of the traditional Christmas carol Joy to the World,and Rejto's touching ballad Remember the Deer.
... Rejto is a marvelous instrumentalist and her eloquent flute is more than able to carry the day.
When Rejto isn't soloing or singing, she hands the reins to pianist Taylor Eigsti or Rick Vandivier, who promptly saddle up their impressive chops and help escort the horse to the winner's circle.  Liquid Love is easily and warmly recommended.


LIQUID LOVE
JAZZ IMPROV, 2000, Charlie Apicella


Nika Rejto's second appearance as leader is a very listenable and entertaining set of standards, augmented with two of her own compositions: AHorizons and Remember the Deer - and featuring the flutist's debut as vocalist.  On Nature Boy Rejto vocalizes the head as a soft ballad duet with pianist Taylor Eigsti, before he and percussionist Josh Jones nail a solid Latin feel for Rejto's flute to restate the melody and then blow her in characteristic full, precise, nicely weighted tone.  Jones is direct and propels the tune's groove.
Take the A Train and Autumn Leaves offer little in the way of creative interpretation.  However, they do showcase the solid swing of the group, propelled by the young Eigsti, whose playing is restrained and tasteful, and is advanced decades beyond his fourteen years.
Guitarist Rick Vandivier is creative and swinging throughout, and his lines are executed with a full, clear tone, as on Secret Love.
As an improviser, Rejto commands a full range from the flute and flows smoothly into her ideas with a direct, full tone drawn from her extensive training in European classical music.  Her tone lends itself beautifully to the three ballads, Remember the Deer, A Child is Born and Don't Ask Why, all of which are duets with piano, the first also with bass.


MIDNITE KISS

“This is another one of those GEMS that pops up in the review pile every so often.  This is a keeper.”
jazzusa, S.H. Watkins, Sr.

“Jazz flutist, Nika Rejto, SOARS on this new addition...Compared to the great James Moody, Nika once again teases our souls and delights our ears with such pristine flute playing it’s hard to imagine that she is not touring the world.” all about JAZZ 


“If you don’t MELT to this one you need to kick-start your soul.”
JAZZ NOW, Lawrence Brazier

TEAZING SOCRATES

"Rejto is one of the most exciting flute players to stake a claim in the vast territory of mainstream jazz in recent years." Andy Gilbert 

"A versatile flutist with a warm tone, impressive technique, and the ability to improvise with keeping the melody close by, Nika Rejto is the main star throughout this strong effort.  The music explores jazz standards and ballads, original classical melodies, hints of Indian and Latin music, and pieces that cross quite a few musical boundary lines.  Rejto is consistently colorful and inventive, making this both an explorative and an accessible effort."

All Music Guide, Scott Yanow, re: Teazing Socrates





 

 

NIKA REJTO