The solo jazz piano is a study in diverse angularities of expression. From frenetic tension to simplistic beauty, the instrument can yield various contours of sound. Some of these shapes are realized on Joey Calderazzo's new release, Haiku
. A vital member of the Branford Marsalis quartet over the past few years, his last recording as a leader was a self titled trio outing with notables bassist John Pattitucci and drummer Jeff "Tain" Watts. The new recording features a mix of material written by Calderazzo and other artists and gives a keen glimpse into the pianist's repertoire.
Things get off to a rollicking start on "Bri's Dance" with a flurry of notes as the pianist persistently pushes a melody entangled with rapid soloing. One of the most striking revelations on the recording is Calderazzo's impressive stride piano artistry as both hands simultaneously perform separate sections of rhythm and improvisation. Cole Porter's "Just One of Those Things" and Calderazzo's "Dancin' for Singles" are both studies in classic lyricism as Calderazzo lays out a picturesque yet complicated performances combined with blues and ragtime innuendoes.
Glowing just as bright albeit more softly are quiet and reflective pieces, such as the ten minute title "Haiku," with its purposeful lines and earnest spirit of exploration. A brooding yet poignant moment unfolds with "Chopin" as the pianist delivers probing notes and a melancholy theme. His interpretation of the late and great pianist Kenny Kirkland's "Dienda" is quietly introspective, performed with respect and empathy. Calderazzo may not be as flamboyant or celebrated as some pianists, yet he certainly demonstrates the artistry of the solo piano on this excellent recording.