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Dave Frank is a professor of piano at Boston's Berklee College of Music, co-founder of the New York School of Jazz and best-selling author of The Joy of Improv. Over the past twenty five years, he has developed a highly personalized approach towards solo piano performance. Ballads and Burners is the follow-up to his 1997 Jazzheads debut, Power of the Piano.
What makes Frank's albums so interesting is the intensity and drive that he pours into his solo piano technique regardless of the respective tempo. On his debut album all but one of the compositions were original. On Ballads & Burners, only Cole Porter's "It's Alright With Me" is not an original composition and Franks uses his skills to show what he can do with an established composition.
There are several introspective ballads on the album in which two impressionistic painters inspired Frank to show a Bill Evan-ish mode on both "Rousseau's World" and "Shades of Renoir." On the other hand, another master painter reference, "Salvador Dali In A State of Grace," understandably leaves the listener in a quixotic frame of mind. With the exception of the ballads, Franks maintains a very percussive approach to his playing and it serves to overwhelm the listener with his technique within the sound and fury of solo piano performance.
Track Listing: Spirit of the Burn; Rousseau's World; The Mechanization of America; Information Highway; Salvador Dali In a State of Grace; Jackson Pollack At Work; Shades of Renoir; Afternoon in Nahant; Like People in Heat; Portrait of Manet; Allied Forces, It's Alright With Me.
As a kid, my mom told me I'd like jazz. I thought she was nuts. Then I went to hear Cannonball Adderley (with Nat Adderley, George Duke, Walter Booker, Roy McCurdy and Airto) and everything changed. Yeah, mom knows best.