Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

205

Inside the Piano: Germinal; Gold; The Ill-Tempered Piano; Udentity

By

Sign in to view read count








Agusti Fernandez & Ingar Zach

Germinal

Plastic Strip

2008


Magda Mayas & Tony Buck

Gold

Creative Sources

2009


Nicola Cipani

The Ill-Tempered Piano

Long Song

2009


Denman Maroney

Udentity

Clean Feed

2009


Four very different approaches to the piano breed startling and fresh results and prove that there are still many avenues of inquiry and research available to those interested in the beloved 88.

In fact, use of the actual 88 keys is in relatively short supply on these albums. They become features of accent, just one of many ways to access the piano's complex inner workings. They are used in the opening moments of pianist Agusti Fernandez' chilling "Volutas" from Germinal, for example, but are then rapidly replaced by long-toned bowings. Throughout this astonishingly diverse disc, it is difficult to tell whether it is piano or Ingar Zach's percussion that is responsible for individual timbres. The beautifully haunting "Arcano" swims by as glacial tones abound, the performers becoming a single entity.

Of similar interest but not nearly as sparse is Gold, the collaborative effort of pianist Magda Mayas and drummer Tony Buck. To say that the disc is more 'traditional' is only to affirm that the atomistic approach of '60s 'free' jazz is in effect here, which has become a tradition in its own right. Maya's instrument moans, sighs and whispers, in contrast to Buck's more and more explosive percussives, making "Mercury"'s epic unfolding a study in long-range dynamic and sonic contrast even as it changes dramatically from moment to moment. Despite references to established modes of expression, there's nothing sterile about this venture into duo improv.

Nicola Cipani's exploration of broken-down New York pianos, The Ill-Tempered Piano, results in a fascinating collection of improvisations where necessity is truly the mother of invention. The impression, from a track such as "Scemophonia," is that each piano is capable of little else and the disc's success is a credit to Cipani's creativity. Transgeographical gestalts are sometimes invoked purely as a symptom of a piano's condition, as on the microtonally mesmerizing "Outsourced Music". No matter how 'out' the tunings, many rhythmic constructions are fairly simple, evoking swing or funk.

The same can be said of Denman Maroney's quintet session Udentity, yet the references don't stop there. Is that "Blue Train" audible in the second track? Given the veteran status of all those involved—Ned Rothenberg (alto sax, clarinet and bass clarinet), Dave Ballou (trumpet), Reuben Radding (bass) and Michael Sarin (drums)—it wouldn't be surprising. Be that as it may, Maroney's trademark hyperpiano is complemented by the pointilistic jabs, thrusts and sinews of the other musicians, some old-fashioned keyboard work dominating the latter half of this typically diverse and endlessly fascinating album.

Tracks and Personnel



Germinal

Tracks: Volutas; Hojarasca; Arcano; Es la nieve sobre el mar; Hidromiel; Capaz de luz.

Personnel: Agusti Fernandez: piano; Ingar Zach: percussion.



Gold

Tracks: Mercury Machine; Golden.

Personnel: Magda Mayas: piano; Tony Buck: drums.



The Ill-Tempered Piano

Tracks: Body Hair Rag; Princip; Macrominiature; True Story; Accent Elimination 1; Blink; Pastime; Celestino; Scemofonia; Tibidabo; Sredni Vashtar; Filmflam; Accent Elimination 2; Ear Worm; Outsourced Music; Astragalizousa; Crime Watch; The Odd Ones; The Petrarca Brothers; Self-Saluting Unit; La Deutsche Vita; Paramour; Adopt a Highway; Gentleman Cow.

Personnel: Nicola Cipani: piano.



Udentity

Tracks: Udentity I; Udentity II; Udentity III; Udentity IV; Udentity V; Udentity VI; Udentity VII.

Personnel: Denman Maroney: hyperpiano; Ned Rothenberg: alto saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet; Dave Ballou: trumpet; Reuben Radding: bass; Michael Sarin: drums.

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read New releases from Jürg Frey, Clara de Asis and Stefan Thut Multiple Reviews
New releases from Jürg Frey, Clara de Asis and Stefan...
by John Eyles
Published: December 7, 2018
Read Classic vinyl remasterings from Storyville Multiple Reviews
Classic vinyl remasterings from Storyville
by Chris Mosey
Published: December 5, 2018
Read Thumbscrew: Ours & Theirs Multiple Reviews
Thumbscrew: Ours & Theirs
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 25, 2018
Read 3x3: Piano Trios, vol. II Multiple Reviews
3x3: Piano Trios, vol. II
by Geno Thackara
Published: November 19, 2018
Read Lee Michaels: Dinosaurs Still Rule! Multiple Reviews
Lee Michaels: Dinosaurs Still Rule!
by Doug Collette
Published: November 17, 2018
Read Seth Yacovone Band and Radio Underground: Rockin' the Green Mountains Multiple Reviews
Seth Yacovone Band and Radio Underground: Rockin' the...
by Doug Collette
Published: November 17, 2018
Read "Clean Feed 2018" Multiple Reviews Clean Feed 2018
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 9, 2018
Read "Iluso Records: DIY from two dreamers" Multiple Reviews Iluso Records: DIY from two dreamers
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 17, 2018
Read "Iglooghost Takes Brave Step Forward With Electronic EPs" Multiple Reviews Iglooghost Takes Brave Step Forward With Electronic EPs
by John Bricker
Published: September 17, 2018
Read "Up From The Roots: Cary Morin, Colin James, Joanne Shaw Taylor & Chris Youlden" Multiple Reviews Up From The Roots: Cary Morin, Colin James, Joanne Shaw...
by Doug Collette
Published: October 21, 2018
Read "Two Contrasting Releases From Bertrand Denzler" Multiple Reviews Two Contrasting Releases From Bertrand Denzler
by John Eyles
Published: July 22, 2018
Read "Piano Trios: 3x3" Multiple Reviews Piano Trios: 3x3
by Geno Thackara
Published: September 20, 2018