Rob Schwimmer: Beyond The Sky (2006)
Once in a great while in the musical incubator of the NYC downtown club scene, a truly musically sophisticated work with broad appeal emerges as if from nowhere. The truth, of course, is that these gems are the result of years of hard work, artistic development and unique musical vision: all these crystallize in the wonderful Beyond the Sky.
In his other musical lives, Schwimmer is the piano and theremin playing piece of the comedic duo Polygraph Lounge and a top keyboardist who tours with the likes of Paul Simon and Wayne Shorter. A discussion of Beyond the Sky that picks apart its classical/jazz influences would do a disservice to its exquisite gestalt and conceptual cross-genre integrative power. "Hello Again, whose presentation in both prelude and postlude brackets the three part "Suite, is Zen-like in its musical acknowledgement that the joy of saying hello again portends the inevitable goodbye. Short pieces and miniatures display dazzling technique and use brevity to enhance their passion. His complete mastery of dynamics and transition remind of how that which is left unsaid can be delicately powerful, with achingly beautiful quiet passages deftly contrasted with forte.
The inclusion of his striking "Waltz for Clara, a paean to theremin virtuosa Clara Rockmore, showcases the instrument's musical capabilities while "Hallucinations on Popular Songs impressively recasts standards such as "Stormy Weather and "Buddy, Can You Spare a Dime by filtering them through Schwimmer's singular sensibilities. That what is shaping up to be the finest solo piano CD of 2007 should come from such quarter makes this release all the more special.
Track Listing: Hello Again; Ostinato; Orpheus; Waltz For Clara (piano version); Hello, Again #2; I Would Talk With My Dad; Holding You In My Arms; Conversation; Quicksilver; Repeated Notes; Beyond The Sky; Buddy, Can You Spare A Dime Never Never Land; Double Helix; Atmospheres; Inside; Waltz for Clara (theremin version); All The Things You Are; Stormy Weather.
Personnel: Rob Schwimmer: piano, theremin.