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Lewis Porter: Piano Solo

Dan Bilawsky By

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The solo format is, quite often, a window into an artist's soul. For Lewis Porter, performing all by his lonesome at the piano, it also serves as a showcase for a tripartite balancing act between patience, impulse, and calculated intellect. In an autonomous state, left to his own devices and desires, this pianist-scholar produces music that's as much about respecting a moment as it is about developing it.

This hour-long studio session finds Porter taking liberties with some warhorses and, perhaps of greater significance, purposefully exploring the merging of pen and piano. He certainly makes his case as a gifted interpreter through four familiar numbers, but it's the six originals that make the deeper impression. Opening on one of the classics—"What Is This Thing Called Love?"—Porter quickly makes clear that he's neither traditionalist nor firebrand. He tackles this gem on his own terms, using everything from lush chords to pseudo stride and strict-time swing to rubato romanticism. Then he delivers his own "Ragtime Dream," nodding to a modern classicist's temperament and indicating a penchant for polyvalent explorations.

As the recital continues, Porter branches out in myriad directions. He explores and exploits verdant harmonies on "I Loves You, Porgy," toys with blues play in equable fashion on "Blues For Sunset," floats his way across the keys on "Through The Clouds," and delivers a fun and far-out trip with the aptly titled "For Eddie Harris." Whether traveling through a wormhole of his own design, overlaying his thoughts through the use of bitonality, or simply mining the form and function of a given song for everything it's worth, Porter's solo music resonates with depth and beauty to spare.

Track Listing: What Is This Thing Called Love?; Ragtime Dream; I Loves You Porgy; Blues For Sunset; Birthplace; Through The Clouds; Mixolydia; Body And Soul; For Eddie Harris; Central Park West.

Personnel: Lewis Porter: piano.

Title: Piano Solo | Year Released: 2019 | Record Label: Next To Silence Records

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