5

Howard Riley: Live With Repertoire

John Sharpe By

Sign in to view read count
British pianist Howard Riley's previous album on No Business, the monumental The Complete Short Stories: 1998-2010 (2011), was a revelation to many, collecting together 6 CDs of stunning aphoristic improvisations. However on Live With Repertoire, as the title suggests, the pianist concentrates primarily on the songbook, particularly Monk, one of his touchstones along with Ellington. In the liners Riley explains that his working method sees him treat a gig as either with or without repertoire, depending on audience, ambience and how he feels. Something was clearly in the air in Leicester in November 2011 as the pianist generates an enthralling set from well-used materials, all captured in sparkling sound.

Even when standards provide the basis for a piece, Riley adopts a variety of approaches, sometimes cloaking accustomed melodies in swathes of embellishment as is the case with "I'm Getting Sentimental Over You," while at others giving more transparent readings such as "Ba-Lue Bolivar Ba-Lues Are," and all stations in between. Often his style tends towards the discursive, even florid on occasion. He rarely emphasises the rhythmic aspects of a tune, preferring rubato asides and tangential diversions, so the brief passages of time, like the stride feel at the conclusion of his own "Formerly" stand out when they occur.

Of the other three originals, "Now One" creates staccato momentum in octaves before deploying a tolling single keystroke, while the rippling atonality of "Now Two" closes with a lovely section similarly repeating what sounds like a purposely distorted note. "Monk's Mood" boasts a rolling bluesy undercurrent, while on "'Round Midnight" Riley subtly amends the familiar theme with dissonances Monk would have been sure to appreciate. The penultimate "Well You Needn't" forms one of the highlights, as a figure on dampened keys acts as a recurring motif during a freeform excursion, with the well-known tune blossoming only at the very end. This is the first recording to be released since Riley was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. It goes without saying that no indication of that infirmity surfaces here. We should treasure Riley's artistry while we still can.

Track Listing: Monk's Mood; Ba-Lue Bolivar Ba-Lues Are; Darn That Dream; Now One; Ruby, My Dear; Now Two; Round Midnight; I'm Getting Sentimental Over You; Formerly; Body And Soul; Well You Needn't; Singing Off.

Personnel: Howard Riley: piano.

Title: Live With Repertoire | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: NoBusiness Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Album Reviews
Live Reviews
Album Reviews
Multiple Reviews
Album Reviews
Profiles
Extended Analysis
Interviews
Album Reviews
Read more articles
Live In The USA

Live In The USA

NoBusiness Records
2019

buy
Constant Change 1976-2016

Constant Change...

NoBusiness Records
2016

buy
10.11.12

10.11.12

NoBusiness Records
2015

buy
 Howard Riley & Jaki Byard - R & B

Howard Riley & Jaki...

Slam Productions
2015

buy

Related Articles

Read Live at I.C.U.U. Album Reviews
Live at I.C.U.U.
By Karl Ackermann
June 16, 2019
Read 789 Miles Album Reviews
789 Miles
By David A. Orthmann
June 16, 2019
Read Follow Me Album Reviews
Follow Me
By Roger Farbey
June 16, 2019
Read You Get What You Give Album Reviews
You Get What You Give
By Ljubinko Zivkovic
June 16, 2019
Read Play The Bird And The Bee Album Reviews
Play The Bird And The Bee
By Dan Bilawsky
June 15, 2019
Read Appleblueseagreen Album Reviews
Appleblueseagreen
By Dan McClenaghan
June 15, 2019
Read The Rolling Thunder Revue: The 1975 Live Recordings Album Reviews
The Rolling Thunder Revue: The 1975 Live Recordings
By Doug Collette
June 15, 2019