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Clay Giberson last crossed my radar playing with the Upper Room Trio on last year's well-received Cycling . His current release, Aiming True, Volume 1, is a solo piano excursion into moody, nocturnal climes. Is this jazz? Is this New Age? Does this belong on Hearts of Space ? Affirmative to all three. Labels are not important when the music performed is this finely crafted. Giberson is a careful composer, never wasting notes or harmonies. His playing shimmers with quiet originality and sophistication.
The compositions are tastefully short and devoid of the standard excesses that often plague this type of piano performance. "Meditation #1," "Meditation #2," and "Meditation #3" all possess a striking ambiance of dusk and meditation. Each meditation ripples over subtle changes in timbre and beat. Mr. Giberson coaxes many different colors from a given note, displaying an acutely soft piano touch. "Hello Song" possesses the beautifully improvised qualities of surprise and careful cunning. Prayer is a soulful musing with a relaxing, enriching quality.
Overall, Aiming True is a collection of nocturnes best enjoyed with a snifter of brandy late at night. I hope that the "Volume 1" is not a ploy, as this is very fine listening music.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.