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
340

Kevin Hays: Piano Works III: Open Range

By

Sign in to view read count
Kevin Hays: Piano Works III: Open Range Pianist Kevin Hays came to prominence in New York in the '80s, eventually working with such luminaries as Sonny Rollins, Benny Golson, Roy Haynes, Joe Henderson, Art Farmer and John Scofield, among others. In the '90s, he recorded a well-received series of sessions for Blue Note, including '94's Seventh Sense (one of the New York Times' "Top 40 Jazz Releases of the Year ) and '96's Andalucia (which featured Ron Carter and Jack DeJohnette). Now, relocated to Santa Fe, New Mexico, he remains active both stateside and abroad.

This current solo piano offering, Piano Works III: Open Range, finds him in a contemplative mood. He states that the serenity he finds in his "new surroundings [is] clearly reflected in the music. And one hears this reflected on the CD's first track, "Open Range. All the compositions, save one, are originals. And, as a player, Hays has a beautiful touch and control, and the engineer captures his sound to full advantage, especially at the acoustic piano.

At times, Hays captures the flavor of vintage Americana that Charlie Haden has mined so effectively, especially on his Verve excursion with Pat Metheny ('96's Beyond the Missouri Sky). Hays' hymn-flavored reading of "You Are My Sunshine is especially affecting as his piano cadences frame his vocal perfectly. "Humming Bird Song pays homage to "traditional Native American songs, but one wishes that he had expanded the piece to include a more complete piano statement, rather than simply accompanying the affecting vocal sample from Traditional Chants & Flute Music of The American Indian. The session's last piece, "Sacred Circles, works so well because it is so unassuming.

As beautiful as these austere compositions are, eventually, sameness sets in and variety is lacking. Different moods would go a long way in setting off and highlighting some of the more ethereal themes, providing some fire to the excess of meditation found here. It is good, however, to hear Hays. His mind is fertile, his musicianship solid and his next session may offer the variety missing in this set.


Track Listing: Open Range; Homestead; Desert Blues; Humming Bird Song; Improvisation; You Are My Sunshine; Fire Dance; Nursery Rhyme; Meditation; Harmonium; Sacred Circles.

Personnel: Kevin Hays: piano, fender rhodes, vocals.

Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: ACT Music | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

CD/LP/Track Review
Interviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
North
North
Sunnyside Records
2016
buy
New Day
New Day
Sunnyside Records
2015
buy
Variations
Variations
Pirouet Records
2011
buy
You've Got a Friend
You've Got a Friend
Jazz Eyes
2009
buy
Piano Works III: Open Range
Piano Works III: Open...
ACT Music
2007
buy
For Heaven's Sake
For Heaven's Sake
Music Eyes
2006
buy

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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