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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Denny Zeitlin: Stairway to the Stars

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Pianist Denny Zeitlin's Stairway to the Stars recording sparkles to life on the familiar Great American Songbook jewel, “There Will Never Be Another You." This version has everything that the best piano trio efforts offer: elegance, inspired three-way interplay, a vivacious groove--thanks to drummer Matt Wilson and bassist Buster Williams--and Zeitlin's always supple touch and endless inventiveness. Zeiltin, has rolled in a creative high gear since his teaming with Sunnyside Records in 2009, beginning with In Concert with Buster Williams and Matt Wilson. Since that Sunnyside debut, he has released on the label two masterpieces of solo piano, ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Denny Zeitlin: Both/And

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Pianist Denny Zeitlin has the distinction--among many others--of having written one of the loveliest of love songs: “Love Theme From Invasion of the Bodysnatchers." The tune can be heard in its unadorned beauty on Zeitlin's Precipice (Sunnyside Records, 2010), the recording of an extraordinarily beautiful and adventurous solo concert. The original version of the tune, from the soundtrack of the 1978 movie, Invasion of the Bodysnatchers (1978)--a masterful remake of the classic 1954 science fiction film--was Zeitlin's lone effort at writing for film. Hired originally to do a “jazz" score, Zeitlin found it necessary--when plans changed--to convince the powers-that-be that ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Denny Zeitlin: Wherever You Are--Midnight Moods for Solo Piano

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There's something magnificent about a top-level artist alone with a piano, immersed in a mood of quiet nights, under quiet stars. Denny Zeitlin, a versatile music maker who wrote the electro-acoustic symphonic soundtrack for the 1978 remake of the science fiction classic Invasion of the Body Snatchers, has released a handful of excellent trio albums on the MaxJazz and Sunnyside labels, but since 2010, has concentrated on solo perforomances.Precipice (Sunnyside Records, 2010) and Labyrinth (Sunnyside Records, 2011) are both live recordings of solo piano outings. Zeitlin continues his solo run with Wherever You Are--Midnight Moods for Solo Piano.

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Denny Zeitlin: Labyrinth

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Denny ZeitlinLabyrinthSunnyside Records2011 Pianist Denny Zeitlin recorded a handful of fine albums for Columbia Records in the mid-1960s, forward-leaning trio affairs showcasing his often cerebral but always approachable technique and his superb songwriting. This was at a time when he was studying medicine. He became, and continues to be, a practicing psychiatrist and university professor, so something--jazz would be the expected pick--could easily have taken a back seat. But while Dr. Zeitlin has a great passion for psychiatry, pianist Denny Zeitlin maintains a great love for the creation of music.

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Denny Zeitlin: Labyrinth

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To Denny Zeitlin the piano is several instruments rolled into one. It is a percussion instrument, struck by fingers and all manner of objets d'art. Together with his feet, which depress the pedals as if they were instrumental peripherals in themselves, Zeitlin makes masterful use of them to split, carve, bend and hang notes. Zeitlin might also make the piano sound like a lute or a harp. And then there are his arms and fingers, that make oceanic use of the ebony and ivory. It is, after all, a piano à queue to Zeitlin, first and foremost. Arms waving in ...

INTERVIEWS

Denny Zeitlin: Nothing Halfway

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San Francisco-based jazz pianist Denny Zeitlin--aka Dr. Dennis Zeitlin, Psychiatrist--boasts a music career that spans more than fifty years. He began, at a tender young age, playing professionally in the early fifties in his home town of Chicago. He was, very early in his life, interested in the fields of medicine and music, and he has been able to navigate career paths in both disciplines with great success.He has recorded more than thirty albums, beginning with a series of four outstanding trio recording for Columbia Records in the mid-sixties, and scored the soundtrack for a classic 1978 remake ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Denny Zeitlin: Precipice: Solo Piano Concert

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The singular mission of Denny Zeitlin continues with Precipice, the recorded document of a concert in January, 2008 at Ralston Hall, Santa Barbara, California. The experience is at once predictably exquisite as it creates a state of a type of suspended animation, floating with utter weightless abandon, as composer and pianist, Zeitlin flies over the edge of its proverbial cliff seduced by the thunderous cascade of music. This is how the music builds up to that frenetic quantum energy by the time Zeitlin reaches the middle of John Coltrane's “Fifth House," the final theme of Zeitlin's magnificent version of “What ...



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