There is no greater leap of faith for a musician than to leave the relative security of a band (with its fresh input of ideas and, let's face it, handy support when they mess up) and go down the solo road. And yet, especially for a pianist who claims Brad Mehldau
as his primary inspiration, it is a mountain that is too tempting not to climb. For listeners, they also discover something new. If they were familiar with the conversationalist, now they get to meet the orator, and can explore the unfiltered plains of their imagination, swooping with the currents and braving the storms. Buran
('Snowstorm' in Russian) is a reference to an abandoned soviet space program in the 70s, and a rather cryptic tribute to the artist's parents. He may originally hail from sunny southern France, but there is certainly something of the turbulent blizzards of the Siberian expanse in Amaury Faye
's first solo effort, from the dense, brooding melodies of the title-track to the breakneck speed of "Follow the Fox," whose swinging, rapid-fire counterpoint carries listeners through whirlwinds of colour and texture.
Ebullient dexterity is on display again in the boppy "Iberian Waltz," throughout which listeners are regaled with upper-register virtuosic eruptions. But after a storm always comes a calm, and where Faye often excels is in the lighter melodic explorations that encapsulate his sense of sophisticated lyricism. "Ballad Pour Izia," one of three covers on the album, showcases that appetite for the simple melodies of pop tunes, albeit with a harmonic makeover. Later he captures the pathos of a bare-bones ballad with remarkable poignancy on his cover of the theme from "The Persuaders" by film-score composer John Barry
. Unquestionably a highlight of the album.
For those familiar with his trio work, it comes as no surprise that Faye is venturing into new territories and doing so with brio. Buran
is an impressive debut from the Berklee graduate. Its kaleidoscopic collection of pieces offers surprise, punch, and introspection in equal measure. With the insight, experience, and maturity that time confers, expect many more such achievements from this young pianist, whose 30th birthday is barely behind him.
Buran; Iberian Walts; Follow the Fow; Ballade pour Izia; We Are Done; Always Running;
The Persuaders; Buran - Variation