How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Composer/Arranger. I was first introduced to Gay Pearson with her svelte string sextet arrangement of "Softly, As In A Morning Sunrise" on Tyrone Brown's Song of the Sun. That is actually a reprise on an arrangement of the same piece for Pearson's own release, Alone, Independent and Unresolved. Both arrangements are quite excellent, as is the rest of Alone, Independent and Unresolved.
Pearson plays with a classically trained, deliberate style that is rhythmically sophisticated, idea-rich, and readily accessible. Ahmad Jamal's "Fly Away" is almost a popular music romp with high-wire digitation. Pearson squeezes out one of the freshest "Well, You Needn't" I have heard recently. Her ballad playing is smart and cogent as evidenced by "When sunny Gets Blue" and "Here's That Rainy Day". But it is with "Softly..." that Pearson expresses her talents of composition and arrangement, producing truly provocative and thoughtful music. A coolly educated talent deserving wider recognition.
Track Listing: Fly Away; When Sunny Gets Blue; Well, You Needn't; Softly As In A Morning Sunrise; Here's That Rainy Day; All Blues; Uzuri; Mambo Inn; X-Eyez; This Will Be My Shining Hour; Alone, Independent And Unresolved. (Total Time: 50:03)