"Strum is the first album dedicated solely to Montgomery’s music, and marks her debut as a leading composer and performer...The album combines classical chamber music with elements of folk music, spirituals, improvisation, poetry, and politics, crafting a unique and insightful new–music perspective on the cross-cultural intersections of American history."
'Connections rises above a rote tribute disc with the inclusion of violinist and composer Jessie Montgomery’s five-part suite In Color. Stewart commissioned her to compose the suite based on certain multiphonics techniques that he has crafted. “The interesting challenge with In Color was to find a blend between the unique timbre of the tuba and the strings, to find a place in the middle where these two opposing timbres could meet,” Montgomery explains. “I spent a lot of time with Bob learning about his technique and the array of effects and colors that have become a part of his palette, and I used those as a basis for the techniques employed by the string quartet.”'
- John Murph, JAZZTIMES
"Many composers would have been wary of a commission to write a tribute to the 200th anniversary of 'The Star Spangled Banner'...Ms. Montgomery readily accepted the challenge, writing an urgent, inventive piece titled 'Banner'...She daringly transforms the anthem, folding it into a teaming score...to create a musical melting pot."
- Anthony Tommasini, New York Times
“The PUBLIQuartet plays In Color, a chamber piece in five short movements, commissioned by Stewart and composed by violinist Jessie Montgomery. Blunt, foghorn-like tuba blasts grab the attention at the start of Red, and give little indication of the variety and deftness that marks this suite. The strings swoop and swirl onAqua, and provide a steady backdrop to the tuba for The Poet. Their combination with tuba assumes a slightly eerie quality on Purple, and the rhythmic tapping and scraping of Makina evolves to a beautiful conclusion.”
Andy Boeckstaens, London Jazz News
“Technically, you might say ‘In Color’ [by Jessie Montgomery] is ‘classical’, and its sections work as cinematic interludes between the [Bob Stewart’s] First Line performances. But taken as a whole, ‘In Color’ is an integral piece, from the dissonant, suspended harmonies of ‘Red’ to the driving, complex rhythms of ‘Aqua’. It’s also impressive how easily its sections segues in an out of the jazz and blues pieces.”
Jon Garelick, DOWNBEAT Magazine
"Turbulent, wildly colorful and exploding with life, “Strum” sounded like a handful of American folk melodies tossed into a strong wind, cascading and tumbling joyfully around one another."