Technical ability is usually taken as read with a lot of stand out jazz. And while you can admire an album for that essential quality and you must sometimes it isn't the only factor by a long way.
Solo piano album Wave in Gravity from US-based Italian pianist Simona Premazzi ticks a number of boxes and certainly high technical command involving a prodigious sense of flow and contrapuntal resource is among these.
Beautifully recorded (the album was made at top studio Sear Sound so it would be a surprise if it didn't sound sonically good), tick, too. The sheer sonorousness of what sounds an epic piano especially in the lower octaves of the instrument is a big plus factor
Wave in Gravity makes its individual presence felt mainly by not being clinical and by offering a well selected bunch of tunes. Not a newcomer but more a seasoned artist Premazzi has a well worn affinity for the music of Andrew Hill (1931-2007) and the version of 'Smoke Stack' a tune rarely covered since its original trio incarnation in the 1960s on the Blue Note album of the same name is the tune to pick out first although it's not an easy listen at all.
New to Premazzi? The pianist is on Jeremy Pelt's Tales, Musings, and other Reveries (High Note, 2015)
Ticked off by anything? The choice of 'Slow Boat to China' but that's being personal. But the vividness of Premazzi's version makes me actually like the tune a bit more. That said the stately title track is more my cup of china where Premazzi enters territory you'd more easily hear on a Craig Taborn record during the heat of improvisation which again keeps anyone into advanced solo pano on the edge of their seats and rightly so. SG
Out on 17 February. 'G Minor Thing/Wachet Auf' is streaming ahead of release
Simona Premazzi, photo: Chris Drukker