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Jason Rebello: Held

Roger Farbey By

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As a teenage prodigy in 1988, Jason Rebello received the Most Promising Newcomer of the Year award in The Wire magazine. By the time he reached the tender age of 21, his debut album A Clearer View was produced by none other than Wayne Shorter; not a bad start to a burgeoning career. A graduate of London's Guildhall School of Music and Drama he's now a visiting artist of the School.

Rebello has already recorded seven albums under his own name but surprisingly this is his first solo piano recording. He's worked with many of the biggest names in music such as Gary Burton, Branford Marsalis, Tommy Smith, Tim Garland, Jean Toussaint, Pee Wee Ellis, Mica Paris and Carleen Anderson, Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins. In 1998 he replaced Kenny Kirkland in Sting's band which won him worldwide acclaim and has played on three of the ex-Policeman's albums. Following six successful years with Sting he moved on to work with Jeff Beck and was featured on the guitarist's 2010 album Emotion & Commotion.

In The Rough Guide to Jazz (3rd edition, 2004) Ian Carr described him thus: "Rebello's is a very great talent: he has brilliant technique, and is familiar with soul, funk, Latin, classical music and jazz. His eclectic style reflects all these..." This eclecticism explains his ready ability to fit in with almost all genres of music.

Held is his follow-up to 2013's Anything But Look which involved a marriage of styles such as jazz, soul and fusion and featured amongst others, Omar, Will Downing and Pino Palladino. But the feel here is quite different. From the opening track "Pearl," Rebello instantly engages the listener with a repeated left-handed vamp over which he extemporizes fluidly. The title track, played at an adagio pace, compares very favourably with the doyen of jazz pianists, Bill Evans. This contrasts with a perky version of Lennon and McCartney's timeless "Blackbird."

Although not stated, the languid "Thanks John" could be a paean to the late John Taylor, perhaps the greatest jazz pianist to emerge from the UK, ending on a poignant major chord of gentle finality. "Happy But For How Long" is, as its title suggests, a mostly upbeat affair, adorned by great swathes of florid notes, whereas the final three tracks, "Purple Sunflower" "Polzeath" and "Dissolve," uniformly display a decidedly meditative quality. Rebello has produced something quite remarkable here with his first solo piano recording, an album of delightful and mesmerising contrasts.

Track Listing: Pearl; Salad Days; Tokyo Dream; Held; Blackbird; As The Dust Settles; Thanks John; Happy But For How Long; Purple Sunflower; Polzeath; Dissolve.

Personnel: Jason Rebello: piano.

Title: Held | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Edition Records

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