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The solo piano can be a tough arena, especially when offering up American Songbook classics. John Stetch's Standards, the pianist's second solo outing and his eighth CD overall, succeeds by taking some unlikelyfor solo pianotunes and getting Zen-deep into them, paring things down to their bare essence, and using quirky rhythms and spare, elegant harmonics.
Two of the most interesting tunes are Charlie Parker's "Segment" and "Moose the Mooche," things you don't normally hear in this setting. "Segment" opens the disc with Stetch exploring the theme before he bites into the melody with short, choppy notes and a percussive left hand. His use of silence here is arresting, brief breaks in the action that draw the listener in. "Moose the Mooche" starts with a repeated bass note, eight beats, and again churns into a spare reading, vibrant and introspective.
Stetch also takes on Monk, and while he doesn't lean on Monkisms, he has real feel for the quiet logic and beauty of "Panonica," a tantalizing preview of his next project, a solo piano Monk CD. "Like Someone in Love." "Embraceable You," and "Stella by Starlight" are also included on Standards. Reverent but spare and slightly off-kilter (I guess one could say Stetch-esque) readings. "Stella" is particularly lovely in his hands, brooding and introspective, with the pianist again feeling his way into the center of the melody to expose its beautiful essence.
A fine solo piano effort that holds the listener's interest from beginning to end.
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, Panonica, Stella by Starlight
I love jazz because with it I found my true voice. I have always sung since I was a very small child in school and church. And there have been many genre that I have enjoyed including spiritual, folk, country, latin, soca and pop
I love jazz because with it I found my true voice. I have always sung since I was a very small child in school and church. And there have been many genre that I have enjoyed including spiritual, folk, country, latin, soca and pop. But nothing has touched my artistic sensiblities like JAZZ! Two years ago I moved to Sarasota, FL where I renewed my focus on my singing career and I was so impressed with the quality, quantity and generousity of talented jazz musicains in the Suncoast area. I soon partnered with piano legend Billy Marcus and his trio with Don Mopsick and Stephen Bucholtz. What a blast working with these guys and having them back me up on my first jaz album, Here's To You... which was just released on October 1st. I can't wait to see where the coming year brings me! Check out syniacarrolljazz.com