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Bob Rodriguez: Portraits

Glenn Astarita By

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Recorded in 1994 and released in 2009, New York area pianist Bob Rodriguez doesn't delve into an existential framework splattered with hidden meanings. Simply stated, the album title intimates the artist's personalized musical portraitures equally divided between standards and originals.

The pianist communicates great depth amid soul-stirring choruses and animated right hand leads. Rodriguez is a poet via his fusion of lush themes with probing storylines, all enamored by his gentle touch and acute penchant for modulating numerous undercurrents. They're highly-emotive pieces as he wraps each motif into a distinct muse or string of expressive statements that intersect and coalesce.

Rodriguez aligns grace, subtlety and warmth on the classic "Spring Is Here," where circular lower register chord voicings offer a glowing contrast to his upper register re-phrasings of the main melody. His improvisational panache is a study in alternating dynamics, often accentuated by his gentle touch and shifting pulses. And Rodriguez's "Ostinato On 'A'" is an entrancing and meticulously designed piece featuring a radiant chord-based ostinato and a memorable primary theme.

He ups the tempo while throttling from highs and lows with his ascending chord clusters on "August 1st." Here, the artist conveys a multicolored panorama, which pronounces a mindset that every note is critical to the song's success. Not that Rodriguez aims his sights from a purely technical level. On the contrary, he possesses the desire and insight to mold his craft from numerous trajectories and thought-processes to complement his enviable chops. A beguiling endeavor it is.


Track Listing: To Frederico; Waltz For Debby; Trials; Spring Is Here; All The Things You Are; Ostinato on 'A'; 'Round Midnight; August 1st; No Return.

Personnel: Bob Rodriguez: piano.

Title: Portraits | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Art of Life Records

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