Pianist Joanne Brackeen’s Grammy nominated release; “Pink Elephant Magic” easily ranks as one of the top releases of 1999. With her follow up, titled Popsicle illusion - Ms. Brackeen embarks on a solo piano recital that features a series of originals and time honored standards as the jazz public receives yet another extraordinary glimpse of this remarkably talented musician.
Listen to how she seamlessly melds James P. Johnson style stride piano with lush harmonies and jazzy single note leads while injecting warmth and breadth into the overall scope of Frank Loesser’s “If I Were A Bell”. Ms. Brackeen displays Art Tatum-esqe speed on Cole Porter’s “From This Moment On” and accents a tantalizing melody with odd-metered, Monk-ish block chords on her composition “Telavision”. On this piece, the pianist branches off with weaving and harmonically rich patterns. - She pursues whimsical yet at times frantic and rambunctious chord progressions sans losing the melody on her composition, “High Tea For Stephany”. While she calms the proceedings a bit during her sublime rendition of Duke Ellington’s classic, “Prelude To A Kiss” as Popsicle Illusion just reaffirms Joanne Brackeen’s preeminence in the world of modern jazz.
I love jazz because it is both challenging and exhilarating, and the endeavor of improvisation is the highest form of art.
I met so many great musicians--including my two earliest heroes, Maynard Ferguson and Dizzy Gillespie--by attending concerts
and being willing to treat them with the respect they deserve.
The best show I ever attended was the Pat Metheny/Ornette Coleman Song X concert at Cornell University.
The first jazz record I bought was an RCA compilation by Dizzy Gillespie.
My advice to new listeners is to not be afraid to listen to something because you're not familiar with the artists or the band or
the genre or anything - this is music that is best experienced through discovery.