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Joanne Brackeen: Popsicle Illusion

Glenn Astarita By

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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.

* * * * 1/2 (out of * * * * *)

Joanne Brackeen; Solo Piano

( Arkadia Jazz )

Title: Popsicle Illusion | Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: MPS Records

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