All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

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 Music & Tickets

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

CD/LP/Track Review
Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Multiple Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Constant Change 1976-2016

Constant Change...

NoBusiness Records
2016

buy
Discussions

Discussions

Dusk Fire
2015

buy
10.11.12

10.11.12

NoBusiness Records
2015

buy
 Howard Riley & Jaki Byard - R & B

Howard Riley & Jaki...

Slam Productions
2015

buy
To Be Continued

To Be Continued

Slam Productions
2014

buy

Related Articles

Read Always Forward CD/LP/Track Review
Always Forward
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 15, 2018
Read The Music of Richard Whiting CD/LP/Track Review
The Music of Richard Whiting
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 15, 2018
Read Barefoot Dances and Other Visions CD/LP/Track Review
Barefoot Dances and Other Visions
by Jerome Wilson
Published: November 15, 2018
Read Twinscapes Vol. 2: A Modern Approach To The Dancefloor CD/LP/Track Review
Twinscapes Vol. 2: A Modern Approach To The Dancefloor
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 15, 2018
Read Talking with Charlie - An Imaginary Talk with Charlie Parker CD/LP/Track Review
Talking with Charlie - An Imaginary Talk with Charlie Parker
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 15, 2018
Read The Gene Krupa Quartet: Live 1966! CD/LP/Track Review
The Gene Krupa Quartet: Live 1966!
by Richard J Salvucci
Published: November 15, 2018
Read "Facing Dragons" CD/LP/Track Review Facing Dragons
by Chris Mosey
Published: September 25, 2018
Read "That's Right!" CD/LP/Track Review That's Right!
by Jim Trageser
Published: October 29, 2018
Read "No One Ever Tells You" CD/LP/Track Review No One Ever Tells You
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 15, 2018
Read "Another World" CD/LP/Track Review Another World
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 6, 2018
Read "In Denmark I Was Born" CD/LP/Track Review In Denmark I Was Born
by Gareth Thompson
Published: March 18, 2018
Read "Jazz Just Wants To Have Fun" CD/LP/Track Review Jazz Just Wants To Have Fun
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: July 23, 2018