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Ron Stabinsky: Free for One

Mark Sullivan By

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Pianist Ron Stabinsky has been a stylistic chameleon with Mostly Other People Do the Killing. He provided a note-perfect recreation of legendary pianist Bill Evans on Blue (Hot Cup, 2014), and eclectic solos on Mauch Chunk (Hot Cup, 2015)—performances peppered with clever musical quotations. For his debut recording he goes solo with a completely improvised set. There's plenty of variety, but it's Stabinsky all the way.

The frequently contemplative tone is established with the opener ..." After It's Over." An ironic title for the first track, but the music rises and falls with no trace of irony, as Stabinsky follows his muse in a continuous flow of ideas. "31" continues with a short blast of velocity, and "For Reel" has a similar unified sound with its fleet, atonal repetitive figures."Gone Song" is a gentle rumination that is indeed song-like. Not surprisingly, "Not Long Now/Long Now"—the longest track by far—is also wide-ranging. Stabinsky closes with "Once, But Again," a lovely tune with a jazz ballad feel: a reminder (if one were needed) that he is capable of a wide range of expression.

His improvised solo work began in 2002 under the mentorship of Bill Dixon, which goes a long way towards placing the general experimental approach. Like the other recent solo projects from MOPDtK members—bassist Moppa Elliott's Still, Up In The Air (Hot Cup, 2016) and saxophonist Jon Irabagon's Inaction is an Action (Hot Cup, 2015)—Free for One shows a freer, more abstract side than his playing in the group. Clever title, also: proof that Stabinsky doesn't take himself too seriously.

Track Listing: ...After It's Over; 31; Viral Infection; Gone Song; For Reel; Not Long Now/Long Now; Rapture; Once, But Again.

Personnel: Ron Stabinsky: piano.

Title: Free for One | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Hot Cup Records

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