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Young Montreal, Canada-based pianist, Bryn Roberts; a one time student of pianist extraordinaire Fred Hersch, exhibits complex compositional tendencies that perhaps skirt the fringes of both mainstream and modern jazz on his debut release, Present Tense.
At twenty-four years of age, Roberts has already performed with legendary trumpeter/big-band leader Maynard Ferguson and here, garners sturdy support from vibraphonist Stefan Bauer and saxophonist Seamus Blake. However, drummer Karl Jannuska and bassist Fraser Hollins provide the sinuous crosscurrents and pumping rhythms in concert with Roberts’ endearing melodies, lush voicings and temperate swing grooves on the Rodgers-Hart classic “Spring Is Here” and other works. Additionally, the pianist displays a notable propensity for weaving Bill Evans-like harmonics and elegantly executed swing vamps with alternating flows, odd-metered rhythmic interludes and altogether, gleeful implementations of richly thematic sheets of sound. With “Likewise,” Roberts and Bauer render soft balladry via delicate inflections, emotive dialogue, and intriguing tonalities. Overall, Bryn Roberts demonstrates remarkable maturity to compliment his rather laudable technical faculties. Recommended!