Ghost Music is Billy Jenkins's download-only follow-up to Death, Ritual & Resonation: Eight Improvised Studies On Low Strung Guitar (VOTP, 2015). It takes a similar tack to its predecessor inasmuch as it is entirely improvised; however the guitar is missing, replaced by piano. Jenkins last used a piano on his vinyl-only album Piano Sketches 1973-84 (Wood Wharf, 1984).
The spectral sound, which pervades all of the tracks, unfolds on "Self Sleep Beds." This and the ensuing tracks "Drinkless Cups" and "Footless Shoes" are ambient in nature and this characteristic is pursued on most of the twelve numbers. But this is not always the case. "Driverless Cars" for example, is more restive. "Self Talk Phones" and "Self Spending Money" utilise more chords than the arrays of single notes found on the previous tracks. The poignant "Self Lived Lives" and "Humanless World," with shades of "Chopsticks" towards the end, are especially chordally-rich. Most of the time, however, Jenkins relies on the piano's sustain pedal to create a suitably ethereal quality.
There's still playfulness about Jenkins's music as with the scherzo-like approach to "Selfless Selfies." Obviously with wry tune titles like these, Jenkins is intent on making a societal statement here as well as a musical one. As an extension of this, maybe he feels that the more reflective, meditative approach he has adopted might be an appropriate antidote for a modern, obsessively self-absorbed and materialistic world in which we live.
There is a freedom and a sense of exhilaration in Jazz that is not found in any other music. Jazz is about finding freedom and a personal voice within a structure, and that is what
appeals to me most. I had a late start in jazz.
I was first exposed to jazz without any formal training by watching videos of Bill Evans, Chick Corea and Thelonious Monk in my 20's.
Later, I met Ahmad Jamal, Kenny Werner, Chick Corea, Martial Solal, Bernard Maury, Fred Hersh, Barry Harris, among many other musicians over the years.
The first jazz record I
bought was Keith Jarrett, The Melody at Night, with You and it is still one of the solo piano masterpiece in my view.
My advice to new listeners... Just enjoy it!
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