Pianist Greg Burk found the perfect ambience in a study lounge of a Harvard University dormitory to record this album. He says that the environment was as close to his childhood living room as a studio could be. Burk also reveals that he was contemplating the direction the music would take while swimming in Walden Pond. More, the music here was like sharing a bottle of wine with old friends.
Burk's approach and feelings have a remarkably instinctive bearing on the record. The music traces a wide arc moving from the ebullience of "Look to the Neutrino to the elliptical orb that loops around "Ducks and Gulls. They are distinct in flavor and mark a change in his vocabulary with the focus being on that bottle of wine going around.
Burk makes radiant use of the Moog synthesizer on "Look to the Neutrino. He lets it wind its way through catchy permutations over a repeated vamp on the piano. Burk shows his funk side as he propels the Moog into an animated drive. The pulse is irresistible and when he lays the melody open, the lure is complete.
Ducks and Gulls floats on Burk's pianism. The pace, for the most part, is deliberate and there are no ornate embellishments. Instead he lets a laid back atmosphere seep in, with bassist Jonathan Robinson letting single notes shape his journey and drummer Luther Gray rustling the brushes and giving the cymbals a bit of zing. It's an odd composition and calls for a sip of that wine, and then another.
Burk has constantly shown a strong sense of composition. "Operetta is one of the tracks that stamp this ability, as well as his skill for arrangements. Burk develops the theme in tandem with Robinson and Gray, the trio imbuing the tune with a powered emotion. Burk's shifts in dynamics are beguiling as are his runs. His ideas are well harvested with a rhythm section that is right on.
Burk has broadened his ambit. The music clasps the written as well as it does the free. In bringing these elements together with finesse, Burk turns up another album that keeps attention ticking.
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