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Jazz artists have always expressed spirituality in their music, whether it be subtle inclusions or overt dedications of faith as found in John Coltrane's masterpiece, A Love Supreme. Pittsburg pianist Rick Gallagher's third release is a solo outing featuring a fresh reworking of popular hymns and spirituals. His previous two recordings, the debut Sweet Potato Eyebrows, and a holiday recording A Sleigh, A Song & A Baby Boy, both delivered appealing and thoughtful music with the pianist surrounded by solid ensembles. Peace Be Still continues to reflect Gallagher's talent, albeit in a more personal and poignant setting.
The thirteen selections are performed delicately as Gallagher reharmonizes the familiar melodies with his own ideas resulting in a relaxed feel that makes for meditative listening. His classy sound is ever present as he plays with eloquence and control, always keeping the pieces interesting yet never overstated. A touch of soul permeates his take on the Negro spiritual "Sweet Little Jesus Boy"? and he reveals some nifty stride work on "This Little Light of Mine"? which keeps the music flowing. Those looking for flamboyant interpretations will not find them here, as Gallagher's seeks a more balanced and empathetic path, accomplishing the goal of delivering soothing, contemplative, and inspiratonal music.
Track Listing: 1. Joyful, Joyful;
3. Morning Has Broken;
4. Sweet Little Jesus Boy;
5. Praise To The Lord;
6. Amazing Grace;
7. This Little Light Of Mine;
8. Were You There;
9. Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring;
10. Come Sunday;
11. Alleluia, Sing to Jesus;
12. When I Survey;
13. Still, Still, Still.
I love jazz because of its ability to evoke such tremendous emotion... primarily joy!
I was first exposed to jazz by my grandparents.
The first jazz record I bought was Jim Beard's Song of the Sun or maybe Steely Dan's Aja.
My advice to new listeners: remain varied in your listening habits, and of course keep listening, keep listening, keep listening!
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