After listening multiple times to Ted Piltzecker’s newest release Standing Alone, a listener may easily conclude that this CD should be required listening for any aspiring vibraphonist. While Piltzecker’s work should not relegated to merely a pedagogical model of technique, it would however, be impossible to overlook the incredible sound Piltzecker draws from his instrument, his dynamic rhythmic sense and impeccably consistent time—certainly qualities worth modeling.
When first confronting Standing Alone which consists of Piltzecker performing thirteen tried and true standards on unaccompanied solo vibraphone (the one exception is on the tune “La Malanga” on which he accompanies himself on djimbe), a listener could be concerned as to whether the recording would contain an adequate amount of variety to hold the ear’s interest. Piltzecker’s performance and creative approaches to these well-known tunes certainly assuages those concerns. He strikes a pleasing balance of harmonic structure within the context of embellishing familiar melodies and demonstrates a great creative inventiveness and harmonic sense. His improvisatory flights of fancy likewise are inventive yet do not stray too distant from melodic reminders of the original tune. Also, Piltzecker’s use of double time as contrast in the slower tempo ballads on the recording is insouciantly seamless and effective.
Musicians, music educators, music students and especially students of the vibraphone should have a great deal of interest in Piltzecker’s recording. Likewise, the jazz aficionado will find Piltzecker’s creative inventiveness in the context of a minimal musical circumstance a satisfying listening experience. For the general listener who perhaps does not marvel in the rapture of great musical technique for the sake of technical artistry Standing Alone still offers a set of nicely performed familiar tunes to delight the ear.