Chris Donnelly: Solo (2008)
Chris Donnelly is a pianist of unbridled talent, sublime technique and an impulse to adorn the sound of music. As an artist he appears to believe that the art of the solo piano is his true calling. Although he has played live in a number of settingsperforming with a wide group of busy elder performing statesmen on Canada's jazz sceneshe has managed to stay focused on his holy grail: solo piano. The result is this fine and memorable record featuring seven brilliantly original compositions and four utterly original interpretations of classic songs by legendary jazz musiciansfrom the playful "Donna Lee - Variations" by Charlie Parker, to the majestic "Hallucinations," from the mercurial pen of Earl "Bud" Powell; from the Bill Evans' classic "Very Early" to the "Cinderella Medley - So This Is Love/A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes," from the pens of Hoffman, David and Livingston.
The music on this record also comprises Donnelly's own compositions. "For the Drifters" is a truly accomplished song, worthy of the pen of the great Walter Norris, while songs such as "Serenity" and "Winter's Waltz" are studies in controlled virtuosity. Perhaps the most memorable music of the set could well be the musical sketches that pay oblique musical tribute to modern composers and the love of his life. Two of these, were written with Erik Satie and Gabriel Faure; in mind. The third was created to reflect a space within the heart and for Donnelly's wife, who is also an opera singer. These three "Songs in B Minor" stand apart in the brilliance of their moody tonality and their melodic invention.
In many respects this hardly sounds like a first album, because Chris Donnelly's genius lies in his sophisticated maturity. Then there is the small matter of his superior technique, virtuosity and exceptional improvisational skillsall of these well beyond his years. It appears that Chris Donnelly can only be destined for the stellar regions of the world of music in general, and jazz in particular.
Track Listing: Very Early; For the Drifters, Song in B Minor - Eva; Hallucinations; Cinderella Medley - So This Is Love/A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes; Donna Lee (Variations); Song in B Minor - Satie; Serenity; Winter's Waltz; Song in B Minor - Faure; Overtime (Extended Pay).
Personnel: Chris Donnelly: piano.
Record Label: Alma Records
Style: Modern Jazz