192

Bruce Barth: American Landscape

By

Sign in to view read count
Bruce Barth: American Landscape If you’re already a Bruce Barth fan, you’ll find much to like on American Landscape. If you’re not familiar with Barth, let me introduce you. The California-born pianist grew up in New York and spent his early years in Boston studying with Norman Simmons, Jaki Byard and Fred Hersh. It’s evident in Barth's playing that these legends of the keyboard had a tremendous influence on him.

The former Terrance Blanchard sideman is among the busiest pianists and composers in jazz, having worked with artists that include James Moody, Joshua Redman, Roy Hargrove and Branford Marsalis. But on this offering, it’s Barth...alone and captivating, masterfully recorded at the Auditori Municipa Enric Granados in Lleida Spain

“Affirmation” is the opener—and what a ride! This infectious tune has so many layers that it takes a few listenings to grasp them all. Like Chick Corea’s “Tone’s for Jone’s Bones” or Herbie Hancock’s “Dolphin Dance,” “Affirmation” boasts an unpredictable structure and wonderful changes. And the last four bars, with a” Giant Steps” feel, allow for some nice turnarounds by Barth. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this tune gain standard status.

“Western Suite” is comprised of six short reflective pieces with some delightful nuances. “Big Sky” has an Aaron Copeland feel. “At the Ranch” and “Dude” sound light and bluesy. “Ghost Town” is a minor piece with changing time signatures. “Sundown Time” is mildly reminiscent of the Claude Thornhill classic “Snowfall,” and “Riding Off” has the flavor of Monk’s “Well You Needn’t.” Nice surprises here.

Bob Dylan’s “I threw It All Away” gets a down-home treatment, but it retains the unexpected turns that happen often throughout these performances. “Mama, Who’s been Here” is another blues, straight out of the Monte Alexander school. It’s hip and funky.

Bud Powell’s “Parisian Thoroughfare” gives Bruce a chance to display his technique while swinging from beginning to end. “Three Types of ESP," penned by Wayne Shorter, is as complex and mysterious as the title implies; and “September Song," while not a usual choice in a jazz set, conveys a haunting feel. And that stride piano chorus has to be a Jaki Byard influence. Monk’s “Straight, No Chaser” just cooks...enough said. And the traditional “Simple Gifts” reflects a lovely simplicity.

Bruce Barth is a mature, yet exciting pianist. He’s accomplished and rhythmically intuitive, with a wonderfully unique approach to harmony—traits all evident on American Landscape. Solo piano, well performed and beautifully recorded, is one of music’s wonderful pleasures—as Barth's record more than amply demonstrates.


Track Listing: Affirmation; Western Suite: Big Sky, The Dude, Ghost Town, Sundown Time, Riding Off, I Threw It All Away; Mama, Who's Been Here; Parisan Thoroughfare; Three Types of ESP; September Song; Straight, No Chaser; Simple Gifts (A Shaker Song).

Personnel: Bruce Barth, Piano

Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Satchmo Jazz Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Transparent Water CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Billows Of Blue CD/LP/Track Review Billows Of Blue
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Love Dance CD/LP/Track Review Love Dance
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Honest Woman CD/LP/Track Review Honest Woman
by James Nadal
Published: February 20, 2017
Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Final Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read "Makes My Heart Sway" CD/LP/Track Review Makes My Heart Sway
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: August 23, 2016
Read "Flux" CD/LP/Track Review Flux
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 26, 2016
Read "Billows Of Blue" CD/LP/Track Review Billows Of Blue
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 20, 2017
Read "The Only Way To Float Free" CD/LP/Track Review The Only Way To Float Free
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 12, 2016
Read "The Rhythm Method" CD/LP/Track Review The Rhythm Method
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: January 14, 2017
Read "Ed Calle 360" CD/LP/Track Review Ed Calle 360
by Edward Blanco
Published: July 17, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!