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Pianist John Stetch has assembled an eclectic, modern mainstream program for his 6th album as leader. The pianist’s improvising quartet weaves distinct impressions around various themes. From the ancient Japanese harmony of Stetch’s “Urakawa” to his Erik Satie tinged “Rondeau,” the pianist/composer swings with an intellectual acumen. Standards receive a smooth texture with a vibrant dynamic touch. Stetch excites the senses without turning up the heat. An audio sample of the album’s “Autumn in New York” is available from the artist’s web site .
The pianist’s post-bop composition “Point” layers dense harmonic clusters with quick light-hearted melodies that dart this way and that. Saxophonist Bill McHenry lays out for several tracks. Without him, the piano trio more closely resembles your favorite cocktail lounge offering. Careful not to rile the patrons, the ensemble maintains a dreamy atmosphere where everybody can relax and return week after week. And, as in such a friendly setting, Stetch keeps a cool composure while embellishing each melody. Crisp and articulate, the pianist says a lot but keeps his shirt on. John Stetch’s Heavens Of A Hundred Days is for jazz lovers who appreciate a dreamy session that stimulates the intellect.
Track Listing: Heavens of a Hundred Days; Urakawa; Rondeau; Duet #1; Love for Sale; Autumn in New York; Point; Duet #2; McWorld; Heavens of a Hundred Days (solo version).
Personnel: John Stetch- piano; Bill McHenry- tenor saxophone; Ben Street- bass; Jeff Ballard- drums.
I love jazz because it mixes intellect and emotion in a very spontaneous way.
I was first exposed to jazz by liberating a Coltrane and a Pharoah Sanders record from a friend in NYC and listening to them over and over until I got it.
My advice to new listeners is you have to take the time to listen to some jazz tunes a number of times until it starts to make sense.