158

John Stetch: Standards

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
John Stetch: Standards For pianist John Stetch, Standards is just as much about reinterpreting as reinventing. Quite literally. His second solo piano recording after last year's totally unexpected Ukranianism takes on the full range of the jazz canon, from the relatively obscure (Charlie Parker's "Segment") to the downright promiscuous ("Stella By Starlight"). He seems to delight in plying a totally different angle with each piece, as if he's afraid he might grow stale if he got stuck in any kind of rut. That works just fine, since Stetch's imagination knows few bounds.

The opener, "Segment," is an exercise in swinging pointillism. Using very few notes, none of which are held, Stetch dances around Parker's theme. Despite the easy feel of the piece's rhythm, it becomes immediately clear that the pianist has a nearly compulsive interest in timing. This unswerving devotion to metrics echoes the stoicism of early 20th century classical music—or the early music of Cecil Taylor, for that matter. But Stetch's attention to detail pays off in the big picture. When the piece dashes off to its crashing climax, it seems like a sort of odd symmetry has been achieved.

Every published review of this record will mention "All The Things You Are," guaranteed. And Stetch's version is truly remarkable. Basically he runs the melody backward with respect to the harmony, yielding a creature that seems oddly at once familiar and alien. Rippling and coursing along its path, he revels in drama and more than a pinch of dissonance. You will never hear another version of this very popular standard that bears such a distinctive touch.

Beyond that, the record opens up and Stetch chases into any number of curious alleyways. He waxes lyrical, rippling along gently arpeggiated chords; then moments later tears up counterpoint and syncopation in a feast of two-handed Monkishness. While Standards may be a study in contrasts, it's readily apparent that John Stetch has invested a great deal both personally and artistically into each new exploration. He seems to be chafing at the bit, looking for holes in the fabric, grasping for a new handle. It will be very interesting to see where the next step in his solo piano cycle leads.

Visit Justin Time on the web.


Track Listing: Segment; All The Things You Are; Interlude; Out Of Nowhere; Like Someone In Love; Embraceable You; Moose the Mooche; Never Let Me Go; Pannonica; Stella By Starlight.

Personnel: John Stetch: solo piano.

Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Justin Time Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Wild CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 26, 2017
Read This Is Nate Najar CD/LP/Track Review This Is Nate Najar
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Joy Comes Back CD/LP/Track Review Joy Comes Back
by James Nadal
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Apocalypse CD/LP/Track Review Apocalypse
by Julian Derry
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read "It's Time" CD/LP/Track Review It's Time
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: August 31, 2016
Read "Birdwatching" CD/LP/Track Review Birdwatching
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 5, 2016
Read "Work Songs" CD/LP/Track Review Work Songs
by Mark F. Turner
Published: March 1, 2016
Read "Tropical Infinito" CD/LP/Track Review Tropical Infinito
by Edward Blanco
Published: May 8, 2016
Read "The Invariant" CD/LP/Track Review The Invariant
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 17, 2017
Read "Spaces" CD/LP/Track Review Spaces
by Sacha O'Grady
Published: June 5, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!