John Stetch doesn’t do ordinary.
The pianist’s latest release allows him plenty of elbowroom as he interprets classics from the heyday of modern jazz. Stetch confesses, “Some of these tunes are like etudes or exercises.”
The challenge of making familiar pieces such as “Embraceable You” and “Stella By Starlight” sound new is met head on. Stetch employs a few rather unseasoned tricks. The seldom-heard leftmost bass notes of the piano lend a percussive force. Unusual meters such as 6/4 and 5/4 steer several numbers along different pathways. Light, right-hand cascades and murky harmonic asides have their desired effect on the music.
From slow and dreamy to up-tempo and fiery, the pianist’s standards program creates various moods that revitalize these old chestnuts. John Stetch has a knack for making intimately familiar material appear to have come from new and different inspirational sources.
Personnel: John Stetch- piano.