When you hear an artist as fully formed as pianist Caili O'Doherty, it's difficult to believe that "Padme" is her debut album. But by the time she released the CD, O'Doherty had attended Berklee College of Music, performed with Danilo Perez, Joe Lovano, and Dave Liebman, and toured extensively. She also met superb players at Berklee who enhance "Padme": bassist Zach Brown, guitarist Mike Bono, and violinist Alex Hargreaves. Other excellent collaborators here include drummers Cory Cox and Adam Cruz, trombonist Eric Miller, and saxophonists Ben Flocks and Caroline Davis (who also contributes wordless vocals).
Although the album is full of great solos, it is O'Doherty's lyrical compositions that make the disc stand out. Perhaps this is because of her unusual method of composing. O'Doherty wrote lyrics to all of her nine gorgeous compositions, expressing her feelings about the places or circumstances that inspired them, only to discard the words when the tunes were finished. Because of this, songs like "Ode to St. Johns," "Stumptown," and "The Promise of Old Panama City" are wonderfully evocative.