222

Michael Cain: Solo

Mark F. Turner By

Sign in to view read count
Michael Cain: Solo A yawn can spontaneously develop when hearing about another solo release in which the unaccompanied music can, at times, result in a monochrome listening experience. But in the case of Michael Cain's Solo, a savvy work of acoustic piano with electronic manipulations, the outcome is—to coin a very dated phrase—in Technicolor.

Cain who was born in Los Angeles, California and serves on the faculty of Music at Brandon University in Manitoba, Canada, can be counted among the huge list of artists deserving wider recognition. A one-time child prodigy, he's performed and recorded with an impressive roster of notables like bassist Dave Holland and drummer Jack DeJohnette, and participated in the M-Base collective with saxophonist Greg Osby and trombonist Robin Eubanks. While not as widely recognized, Cain is nonetheless a consummate artist, a pianist and producer who's released noteworthy works such as Circa (ECM, 1996), and plays a surprisingly mean bass in a number of local bands.

With a mere five tracks, Solo is the impeccable balance of imagination, elegance and hipness. The aural senses are seduced in "Kammotion," with a finger-snapping yet sophisticated vibe, as Cain's pianistic maneuvers are speckled with subtly placed sound collages, programmed dance rhythms, and intricate changes. The music might fit into the category of ambient electronica with the earnest supplication of "Prayer," where the piano's spaced notes are measured against the hues of organ and synthesized timbres to create an aura that is introspective yet poignant.

If "Prayer" is reverential then "Gerald" has seedier tendencies. Its twelve-minute story arc contains a downtown club motif with a funky strutting beat, changing into mellowed groove fitted with techno percussion as Cain serves up a lengthy solo that shows his icy chops. "The Question" and "Last Waltz" are more jazz-oriented: the former for solo piano; the latter, a pseudo trio piece, with Cain programming a convincing bass and drum rhythm section as he works through the changes with stylish refinement. The absence of other musicians is not missed one iota in Solo, a polymorphic statement of Cain's abilities.

Track Listing: Kammotion; Prayer; Gerald; The Question; Last Waltz.

Personnel: Michael Cain: piano, electronics.

Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Native Drum Music


Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Shop

CD/LP/Track Review
  • Sola by Karl Ackermann
  • Solo by Mark F. Turner
Read more articles
The Green-Eyed Keeper
Creative Sources
2008
buy
Phfew
Creative Sources
1998
buy
Circa
Creative Sources
1997
buy

More Articles

Read Numbers CD/LP/Track Review Numbers
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 30, 2017
Read Copenhagen Live 1964 CD/LP/Track Review Copenhagen Live 1964
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 30, 2017
Read The Busker CD/LP/Track Review The Busker
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 30, 2017
Read Pathways CD/LP/Track Review Pathways
by Jerome Wilson
Published: May 30, 2017
Read This Is Beautiful Because We Are Beautiful People CD/LP/Track Review This Is Beautiful Because We Are Beautiful People
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: May 29, 2017
Read Nigerian Spirit CD/LP/Track Review Nigerian Spirit
by James Nadal
Published: May 29, 2017
Read "Been Up So Long It Looks Like Down to Me: The Micros Play the Blues" CD/LP/Track Review Been Up So Long It Looks Like Down to Me: The Micros Play...
by Troy Dostert
Published: March 3, 2017
Read "Live with a Boom" CD/LP/Track Review Live with a Boom
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: March 19, 2017
Read "Live" CD/LP/Track Review Live
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: April 25, 2017
Read "Columbia Years 1968-1969" CD/LP/Track Review Columbia Years 1968-1969
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: July 4, 2016
Read "Alive" CD/LP/Track Review Alive
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: July 15, 2016
Read "Terre II" CD/LP/Track Review Terre II
by Tyran Grillo
Published: June 7, 2016

Why wait?

Support All About Jazz and we'll deliver exclusive content, hide ads, hide slide-outs, and provide read access to our future articles.

Buy it!