Jazz CD Reviews
Neil Alexander – “Darn That Dream” – Solo Piano Vol. 1 – P-Dog Records
Published on February 11, 2013
Neil Alexander – “Darn That Dream” – Solo Piano Vol. 1 – P-Dog Records PD 00512, 66:30 ***:
It’s a daring and self-assured artist that ventures in the arena of a solo piano recital whether that is a concert hall or a recording studio. Clearly Neil Alexander has no such trepidation as evidenced by the release of Darn That Dream.
In this eleven-track project, most are original compositions by Alexander with the exception of “Darn That Dream”, “Sirabhorn” and “My Foolish Heart”. There is no doubt that Alexander is a confident player with a complex and expressive style, all of which lends itself to the more leisurely and delicate tempos that dominate the session. The two versions of “Darn That Dream” are rich examples of this proficiency, but provide two very different interpretations of the tune, with the second version far more oblique in arrangement and construction. Pat Metheny’s “Sirabhorn” is nothing more than a framework around which Alexander builds a musical picture of freely improvised notes and ideas. Probably one of the quintessential piano versions of “My Foolish Heart” comes from the Bill Evans Trio recording Live At The Village Vanguard. Alexander makes no attempt to replicate this rendition, but does give it a strongly lyrical interpretation with a tip of the hat to Evans.
As for his compositions, they are mostly free-form configurations full of glossy harmonic investigation filled with the force of the stricken keys, although “Stop For the Moment (And Listen) comes from a more tranquil setting. Alexander is always in firm control of these rambling improvisations, whether it comes from the piano’s lower register such as “A Question Of Energy” or the extensive searching and intensity demonstrated in “The Traveler’s Tale”.
Neil Alexander shows an extensive pianistic quality that favors conception and courage.
TrackList: Darn That Dream (version1); Stop For A Moment (And Listen); A Question Of Energy; Whisper Of Angels; Everyman (The Flight Of The Falcon); Sirabhorn; The Traveler’s Tale; My Foolish Heart; Blues For Martha (Graham); Darn That Dream (version2); Epilogue