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.
There is a freedom and a sense of exhilaration in Jazz that is not found in any other music. Jazz is about finding freedom and a personal voice within a structure, and that is what
appeals to me most. I had a late start in jazz.
I was first exposed to jazz without any formal training by watching videos of Bill Evans, Chick Corea and Thelonious Monk in my 20's.
Later, I met Ahmad Jamal, Kenny Werner, Chick Corea, Martial Solal, Bernard Maury, Fred Hersh, Barry Harris, among many other musicians over the years.
The first jazz record I
bought was Keith Jarrett, The Melody at Night, with You and it is still one of the solo piano masterpiece in my view.
My advice to new listeners... Just enjoy it!
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