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Joey Calderazzo's solo piano album gives him plenty of room for exploration. He moves gracefully through a program of originals and familiar tunes. Some are up-tempo, outgoing and bright, while others turn loose an introspective nature. The pianist explores jazz from several angles.
It was the parlor pianist of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century who paved the way for jazz’s roots. The audience was attracted to the spontaneity and freedom that ragtime and early jazz espoused. On Haiku, Calderazzo employs that freedom to chase his dreams and live them through the instrument.
Branford Marsalis’ dark composition “A Thousand Autumns” and Calderazzo’s own “Haiku” paint mournful pictures and commingle them with broader landscapes. What happens is that the artist is able to steer his way through each succeeding scene naturally. He moves seamlessly from one picture to the next, painting the details in gently as he goes.
There are general connections to the great body of jazz music that has affected us all for more than a century. “The Legend of Dan” recalls the natural texture of Gershwin’s “Summertime.” “Bri’s Dance” flirts with rhythm the way Dave Brubeck’s quirky-metered pieces do. Throughout the piece and its reprise, Calderazzo’s blazing fast pace keeps you on the front edge of your chair. “Chopin” emphasizes a simple, open harmony, while Kenny Kirkland’s “Dienda” allows Calderazzo to examine denser, two-handed chords.
Whether pensive and introspective in his chambers, or barrel-rolling with parlor antics in the rec room, he approaches the music with lyricism and passion. Haiku finds Calderazzo at his best, creating music that everyone can find enjoyable.
I was first exposed to jazz as a middle school band student. A college ensemble passed through and put on a concert for the band students (of which I was one). The level of mastery and musicianship blew me away, intimidated, and inspired me
I was first exposed to jazz as a middle school band student. A college ensemble passed through and put on a concert for the band students (of which I was one). The level of mastery and musicianship blew me away, intimidated, and inspired me. Try as I might, I was never able to achieve a high enough level of competency to perform at the level I was first and subsequently exposed to. Regardless, I was hooked on jazz and remain so to this day.