Comparisons to Keith Jarrett are certainly not out of order for pianist Tim Lyddon. Comparison to Bill Evans even withstands muster. However, Mr. Lyddon, while introspective in his playing, is not that introspective. The pianist’s previous recording, I’ve Traveled So Far , was well-received in these pages, and with very good reason. Mr. Lyddon is the member of a growing group of pianists who eschew the blues for ballads and perform the latter with an informed and inspired vision. Besides Jarrett, this group includes Fred Hersch, Lynn Arriale, and the late Tommy Flanagan.
Shades of People is the followup to I’ve Traveled So Far, and in many ways it's an obvious continuation of the previous recording. As before, Mr. Lyddon carefully constructs shimmering ballads at both slow and fast tempi that dance like rain on a lake. This image is further promoted by his regular rhythm section, who, with the lightest hands, gently propel Mr. Lyddon’s vision forward. This is no better illustrated than on the disc’s original compositions, partiularly "Meditiation Number 1," with Tom Hubbard's arco break and Scott Latzky’s understated and accurate percussion.
The Leonard Berstein ballad "Somewhere" is given an exquisite trio treatment with the band members acting in empathic unison. Hubbard solos intelligently with Lyddon providing the harmonic underpinning. The best standard is "All the Things You Are," which is given a bit of a calypso feel by Latzky. Chalk up another superb trio recording from Tim Lyddon. He makes it a pleasure to listen to jazz music.
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