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Gregg Kallor: A Single Noon

Dan McClenaghan By

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Solo piano recordings are risky. Even the acknowledged masters of the form—Brad Mehldau, Keith Jarrett—fall flat from time-to-time. Somehow, outside of an interactive ensemble, magic seems harder to conjure. Pianist Gregg Kallor tries his hand at going it alone on A Single Noon, a nine movement suite, a musical ode to life in New York City.

This is composed music, with improvisation, and sounds like a very refined recital. Kallor's take on the big city seems to focus on the elegant and the polished side of city life, beginning with the gorgeous cover art, featuring a dazzling sunset (or it could be a sunrise) reflected on the polished wood of multiple pianos, with the sky scape of the big city in gray/violet hues as a backdrop, the artist himself hunched in shadowy light over a keyboard.

And the music: there is magic here. Much magic. It sounds like a love letter—an intricate, pensive, mostly tranquil and cerebral rumination on the city of New York, beginning with the wistful title tune, a patient unfolding of a simple, spare beauty of well-chosen notes. "Broken Sentences" brims with an agitation under the tight focus of Kallor's classical background, and "Night" falls gently, a caressing darkness creeping into the sound.

Kallor's compositions and his touch are absolutely exquisite. The word "refinement" keeps coming to mind, and it is a refinement touched with imagination, verve and vision. Gregg Kallor, with this New York suite, A Single Noon, has crafted a compelling and beautiful work of art.

Track Listing: A Single Noon; Broken Sentences; Night; Straphanger's Lurch; Found; Expresso Nirvana; Giants; Things to Come; Here Now.

Personnel: Gregg Kallor: piano

Title: A Single Noon | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Single Noon Records

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