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Eduardo Elia: Solo

Dan McClenaghan By

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Argentinian pianist Eduardo Elia, based now in his homeland, attended Berkelee College of Music in Boston. He has a handful of CD releases as a leader, and beyond that, information on the artist is hard to find. His internet profile is sketchy.

So the review is all about the music, and maybe that's how it should be...

Solo is Elia's sit down at the piano alone offering, in which he mines mostly 1960s jazz tunes, with and emphasis on the Blue Note label. His takes are not rote readings. He drills to the cores of these compositions and explores their depths. Opening with trumpeter Miles Davis' "Circle," from perhaps the finest of the "Second Great Quintet" outings, Miles Smiles (Columbia Records, 1967), Elia is just as introspective as Davis, muted, was on the original, but with more brightness, and an equal measure of wistful beauty. Like many of his "covers" here, the tune may not be readily recognizable. The same can be said for Ornette Coleman's "Peace," from the free jazz pioneer's New York Is Now! (Blue Note Records, 1967). It is a jumbled, playful sound, full of joy, lots of notes flying around, bringing to mind—it took a while to make this connection—the approach of pianist Martial Solal, taking the tune apart and inspecting the parts and reassembling them, adding a serrated edge.

Wayne Shorter's "Speak No Evil," from the saxophonist's 1966 Blue Note album of the same name has an ominous vibe, with "tolling bell" left hand rhythm and a "seeking redemption" (and not finding it) right hand melody. The Elia original, "Una Idea," rambles, then sounds as if got put in a blender until, it seems, the chords (slightly warped) for John Coltrane's "Giant Steps" surface, leading into the real thing, a halting, prickly take on the iconic saxophonist's most recognizable compositions.

Three tunes by Wayne Shorter, two from Ornette Coleman, one from Thelonious Monk, one from Miles Davis, one from Coltrane—all from the seminal time of change. Add three more from the pen of Eduardo Elia, with everything crafted from the vital and original avant perspective of a first rate pianist.

Track Listing: Circle; Round Trip; Speak No Evil; Una Idea; Giant Steps; Toy Tune; Evidence; Peace; Wertic; Pasajero Frecuente; Virgo.

Personnel: Eduardo Elia: piano.

Title: Solo | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Blue Art Records

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