340

Kevin Hays: Piano Works III: Open Range

By

Sign in to view read count
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.

Title: Piano Works III: Open Range | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: ACT Music


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read ON Tour CD/LP/Track Review ON Tour
by John Kelman
Published: October 22, 2017
Read On a Distant Shore CD/LP/Track Review On a Distant Shore
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets CD/LP/Track Review Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read Signal 9 CD/LP/Track Review Signal 9
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 22, 2017
Read For the Love of You CD/LP/Track Review For the Love of You
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 21, 2017
Read Recent Developments CD/LP/Track Review Recent Developments
by John Sharpe
Published: October 21, 2017
Read "Dawg Yawp" CD/LP/Track Review Dawg Yawp
by Jim Trageser
Published: October 29, 2016
Read "Two Hands, One Heart" CD/LP/Track Review Two Hands, One Heart
by Roger Farbey
Published: February 8, 2017
Read "Mobiles Vol. 1" CD/LP/Track Review Mobiles Vol. 1
by James Nadal
Published: May 1, 2017
Read "TajMo" CD/LP/Track Review TajMo
by James Nadal
Published: April 19, 2017
Read "Umbrella Weather" CD/LP/Track Review Umbrella Weather
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 24, 2017
Read "East West Daydreams" CD/LP/Track Review East West Daydreams
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 9, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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