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John Gentry Tennyson: Europa

Jim Santella By

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Pianist John Gentry Tennyson’s use of impressionism blends a classical style with a cocktail lounge player’s sense of adventure. To prepare for this project, Tennyson lived in Monte Carlo for three months, absorbing the overlapping essence of French, Spanish and Italian cultures. Jazz, of course, is represented in the pianist’s swinging approach to these ethnic flavors and in his keen sense of spontaneity. A child piano prodigy who majored in jazz studies and performance at North Texas State, Tennyson paints vivid musical landscapes for his audience. Along with congas and a loping acoustic bass, the pianist takes us for a scenic drive on "Europa," staying on all the high roads. The deep bass register of the piano changes the day’s mood through "Fortunato," while "Milonga Sinistra" offers a dramatic tango with bandoneon and string quartet. "La Mer à Monaco" rolls over ocean waves on a stormy day, while "La Principessa" steps lightly on the toes of violin and piano. Two arrangements of "Vesna e Zorica" offer separate studies of the lyrical classical ballad. Violinist Joyce Hammann provides a weepy setting with piano accompaniment, while Tennyson performs the reprise alone in a dramatic but less sentimental delivery. Musical impressionism from a small piano-led ensemble offers a penny for your thoughts, but what becomes of that tiny investment is up to you.

Track Listing: Preludio; Citt

Personnel: John Gentry Tennyson- piano; Jeffrey Carney- bass; Satoshi Takeishi- percussion; Raul Jaurena- bandoneon; String Quartet: Joyce Hammann, Dana Ianculovici- violin; Charles Adams- viola; Michael Fitzpatrick- cello; Joyce Hammann- violin on "Vesna e Zorica;" Todd Reynolds- violin on "La Principessa;"

Title: Europa | Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: Angel Records Canada

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