Various artists, I Still Play

A feast of solo piano music spanning several genres and forming a formidable statement by issuing label Nonesuch of the quality of the artists on the label. Jazz fans will mainly gravitate towards the Brad Mehldau tracks and both are very good. …

Published: 25 May 2020. Updated: 44 days.

A feast of solo piano music spanning several genres and forming a formidable statement by issuing label Nonesuch of the quality of the artists on the label. Jazz fans will mainly gravitate towards the Brad Mehldau tracks and both are very good. However, and this is one of the joys of compilations such as this, it is easy to quickly grasp how tracks from different backgrounds or genres actually sit quite comfortably with one another. You might argue that this is a case of having your cake and eating it. And why not with such treasures. The Timo Andres tracks are beautiful iridescent openers and as we move on to the Jeremy Denk rendition of a John Adams piece the interiors that the album steer us towards so well weave a certain quiet magic. Andres playing Philip Glass is a lullaby-like landmark that then brightens again to the strains of Andres playing Laurie Anderson. I Still Play certainly avoids dour misery. Mehldau's 'LA Pastorale' is quite superb in the latter part of the album as to is Steve Reich's 'For Bob,' once again performed by Andres. The Metheny piece '42 Years' is a complex tangle that unfolds into a handsome almost naive melody that Mehldau does well to interpret leaving the serene Donnacha Dennehy piece and oddity in the Randy Newman recessional at the end to draw a generous compilation to an accessible close.

Tags: 2020 best so far tracks / albums

Martin Speake and Liam Noble in The Chapel

The fact a student came along and recorded this duo performance by alto saxophonist Martin Speake and pianist Liam Noble one August lunchtime five years ago made all the difference. Because this release otherwise would not have existed. In the …

Published: 24 May 2020. Updated: 45 days.

Next post

The fact a student came along and recorded this duo performance by alto saxophonist Martin Speake and pianist Liam Noble one August lunchtime five years ago made all the difference. Because this release otherwise would not have existed. In the current climate of not being able to attend live performances at all a recording such as this takes on an extra dimension, a novelty if you like. Certainly you get a sense of place, the character-laden quality of the recording in the historic Old Royal Naval College Chapel in Greenwich is an invisible third member. Tunes are very familiar: Speake quite poetic and attentive to the strains of 'Round Midnight,' 'Epistrophy' and more; Noble, as so often, a sensitive presence capable of blindsiding the listener with his oblique diversions and impressionistic touch. Martin Speake top. Photo: Bandcamp