Support All About Jazz

All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Pay $20 and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page, plus this box and the slideout box on the right for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.


I want to help
5

Howard Riley: Live With Repertoire

John Sharpe By

Sign in to view read count Views
Howard Riley: Live With Repertoire 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.

Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: NoBusiness Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop For Jazz

Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Multiple Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Discussions
Discussions
Dusk Fire
2015
buy
10.11.12
10.11.12
NoBusiness Records
2015
buy
To Be Continued
To Be Continued
Slam Productions
2014
buy
[no cover]
To Be Continued ...
Not On Label
2014
buy
Live With Repertoire
Live With Repertoire
NoBusiness Records
2014
buy
[no cover]
St. Cyprians 3
Not On Label
2012
buy
Gil Evans Gil Evans
composer/conductor
Evan Parker Evan Parker
sax, tenor
Tim Berne Tim Berne
saxophone
Derek Bailey Derek Bailey
guitar
Mike Westbrook Mike Westbrook
composer/conductor
Dave Burrell Dave Burrell
piano
Tubby Hayes Tubby Hayes
saxophone

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.