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Adam Macowicz: Songs for Manhattan (2004)

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Adam Macowicz: Songs for Manhattan No stars How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Like his Live At Maybeck (1992) Northern California recital concert, Adam Makowicz's new CD release is an unaccompanied solo affair in front of a quaint and recording studio-like quiet and respective audience in Novia Scotia. And solo has become the preferred format to hear this pianist's talents at its best.

A New Yorker for over 25 years—longer than he's lived anywhere else—the Czech-born Adam Makowicz (who was musically based in Poland for many years) shows his respect for the city which has adopted him as one of its own by composing eleven works ranging from four to five and a half minutes, with the exception of the lengthier "For Erroll Garner." The pianist's Garner and Art Tatum roots and respect are each intentionally on display during the course of two appropriately titled Makowicz-penned tunes in particular: "For Erroll Garner" organically blossoms from a Garner-ish introductory statement that segues directly into the tune's gorgeously embellished melody, while "Tatum on My Mind" progresses with Tatum-esque flourishes as the theme vanishes into a dazzling display of runs before the head briefly returns at the end. The pianist convincingly composes and plays originals as if they were familiar melodies of standards you can hum but just can't place your finger on with a constant inherent swing to his playing. The depth to his single notes and chords, as well as walking left hand stride style and embellishing right hand is nothing short of extraordinary.

Most tunes have city-based references in their titles (e.g. "Sunsets Over the Hudson," "Manhattan Plaza," "Early June in Central Park," "Time Square Colors," "Big Apple Waltz," etc.), and though the opening measures of many of his compositions might not at first sound promising, given a few passing notes the compositions morph into swinging virtuosic jazz improvs, at times almost sounding like piano for four hands. My wrists hurt after getting through a first listening of this one!


Track Listing: 1. Tatum on My Mind 2. For Erroll Garner 3. Living High in Manhattan 4. Sunsets Over the Hudson 5. A Song From My Past 6. Manhattan Plaza 7. Early June in Central Park 8. Follow Your Bliss 9. Times Square Colors 10. Big Apple Waltz 11. Gazing Downtown

Personnel: Adam Macowicz: Piano

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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