Jazz CD Reviews

Matt Herskowitz, solo piano – Upstairs – Justin Time
Jan Lungren, solo piano – The Man in the Fog – Bee Jazz


Published on March 21, 2013

Matt Herskowitz, solo piano – Upstairs – [TrackList follows] Justin Time  JUST 249-2 ****:

Jan Lungren, solo piano – The Man in the Fog [TrackList follows] Bee Jazz BEE 049. 49:09 ****:

We all know and appreciate by now that it takes some courage to do a solo unaccompanied piano album today, and both of these artists have it down successfully.  Record live at a bar & grill in Montreal last year, the Herskowitz CD is another jazz-meets-classical effort, but unlike some, this one works. The pianist has the daring to take items such as Robert Schumann, Bach, the Gershwins and Dave Brubeck, and make them work beautifully in the jazz idiom. The longest track is the over 12-minute “Bella’s Lament,” which is from a musical theater production and has nothing to do with Bartok. It’s one of two originals by Herskowitz. Michel Petrucciani’s “Cantabile” is an unusual and lovely choice. There’s an amazing improvisational trip on “Bach a la Jazz,” which uses the composer’s Prelude in C Minor. Two Gershwin selections round out the CD, which has excellent piano sonics, recorded originally at 96K/24-bit.

TrackList:

Dziekuje, Waltz in Moscow, Cantabile, Bela’s Lament, Bach a la Jazz, But Not for Me, I’ve Got Rhythm.


Another interesting solo piano outing comes from Swedish pianist/composer Jan Lundgren, who as done almost 40 CDs previously as part of different groups, but takes the unaccompanied piano route this time. It opens with what seems like another jazz treatment of classical themes: “The Maids of Cadiz,” as heard on one of the Miles Davis/Gil Evans albums, but there is only one other classical theme among the ten tracks: Faure’s “Apres un Reve.”  Two Lundgren originals grace the CD (including the title tune), plus versions of soundtrack themes from Jerry Goldsmith and Brazilian Chico Buarque.

This is an intimate-sounding piano session, demonstrating the wide musical knowledge and sophisticated chops of Lundgren. It’s certainly not a hackneyed program of selections either.  The notes are unfortunately one of those photography foldouts, without any text.  Would like to know a bit more about this fascinating pianist.

TrackList:

The Maides of Cadiz, View of P, Apres un reve, I Don’t to Cry Anymore, En Lang Vantan for Vantans Skull, Man in the Fog, Twenty-Five Years, Theme from Chinatown, As Vitrines, Tack for Alt.

—John Henry




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