Jeremy Siskind is a twenty-one year old pianist and composer currently studying at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY. The self-produced Prophecy
was recorded several months after a March 2006 appearance on Piano Jazz
, Marian McPartland's long running National Public Radio program. Siskind's nascent style is situated in the jazz mainstream, exhibiting traces of pianists ranging from Oscar Peterson and Keith Jarrett to McCoy Tyner. He composed the disc's eleven tracks, an assortment of jazz, gospel, and classically influenced pieces.
"Jennifer, the opening cut, is a relaxed swinger that contains a few slightly dissonant elements. Siskind's firm, sprightly touch provides rhythmic drive in itself. His solo begins with a relatively simple series of phrases and evolves into a thick, earthy stew.
Throughout "It's Not Like I'm Going to Get Addicted, Siskind stays under control at a blazing tempo. Everything is cleanly articulated, and he always displays a clear sense of direction. Siskind thinks as fast his as fingers move. Tangents are brief and meaningful.
The weight of the chords and forays to the lower end of the keyboard on "Mackinac Prophecy suggest Tyner. Beginning a solo over bassist Jesse Breheney's vamp, Siskind keeps things at a low boil and leaves open space. When the bass and drums kick into straight jazz time, his sharp, commanding ideas contain real development and variety.
The gospel-oriented "John Deere includes a slightly ironic refrain. Siskind starts his improvisation at a subdued volume and plays lines that evoke the melody. As he gradually starts to build, a combination of chords and single notes become denser; then the right hand runs get longer and more playful.
"Fanning the Flames is a pert, thirty-two bar swinger with an attractive melody. Siskind locks in with Breheney and drummer Dave Tedeschi's medium-tempo groove and slowly begins to expand. Eventually, spiky right handed runs chafe against the bass and drums. A dark chordal interlude dominates the music before he works his way back to the head.
Beginning a solo with just bass accompaniment on the bustling "Guard the Van, Siskind initially leaves a lot of open space, and then starts to move. His right hand plays single notes for a long stretch. Sometimes he intentionally races ahead the beat, only to simplify things and get back in synch with Breheney.
There are five tracks on the record that are not up to these high standards. The classically influenced "Independence v.3.O, "Redundancy, and "Valse Triste are nicely played but not particularly substantial. "Spur of the Moment is a sketchy line that features Tedeschi's amorphous drum breaks. Here Siskind displays less patience in developing his solo than on most of the other tracks. His improvisation on the quasi-Latin "Theme for a Sunrise collapses under the weight of repetitive motifs which become too familiar.