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Self-taught Canadian pianist Andrew Gilpin presents a hodge-podge mixture of styles on Multiplicity. His Sonata for Flute and Piano explores a lively mix of baroque flute and pulsing piano accompaniment. Other tunes entertain a folky, melodic feel. But unfortunately most of the disc is trite to the point of sheer annoyance. For example, the sea shanty tune "The Cremation of Sam McGee" bears a painful similarity to the theme from Gilligan's Island. The lengthy choral suite Gloria takes what might be a positive ecstatic feel and destroys it with mind-numbingly repetitive lyrics and music. The first movement, for example, repeats the same four words over and over again for three and a half minutes.
The instrumental and vocal performances on Multiplicity are crisp, clear, and well-recorded. The flute work by Leslie Allt conveys warmth and joy. Gilpin's omnipresent piano playing tends toward a organic, harmonically simple folk idiom, with occasional bluesy or spiritual moments. The group vocal performance by the Wayne Gilpin Singers retains balance, and the individual vocals by soprano Wendy Humphreys have moments of sheer virtuosity. However, despite the individual contributions of these musicians, Multiplicity is fundamentally flawed at a compositional level. It never really breaks free of the simplistic, repetitive themes that overwhelm any creative interest.
Track Listing: Sonata for Flute and Piano (Movements I-III); Kaity; The Cremation of Sam McGee; Duo for Flute and Piano; Alleluia; Gloria (Movements I-VII).
Personnel: Andrew Gilpin, piano; The Wayne Gilpin Singers; Cantilena; Wendy Humphreys, soprano; Leslie Allt, flute.
As a kid, my mom told me I'd like jazz. I thought she was nuts. Then I went to hear Cannonball Adderley (with Nat Adderley, George Duke, Walter Booker, Roy McCurdy and Airto) and everything changed. Yeah, mom knows best.