3

Robert Mitchell: The Glimpse

Bruce Lindsay By

Sign in to view read count
Robert Mitchell: The Glimpse
Pianist Robert Mitchell offers insight into a very particular musical place on The Glimpse: the world of solo, left hand only piano. The left hand: the hand responsible for the rhythm, the hand that keeps the beat, that lies in thrall to the melodic, excitable and exciting right hand. Why on earth would anyone want to play the piano using only the left hand? What a waste of half a keyboard and, indeed, half a pianist. Mitchell—a left hander himself—needs no more than 10 seconds of the improvised "Amino" to shoot such ill-informed prejudices out of the sky. His left hand is a hand that creates many moods, moving across the 88 keys with flair and grace and generating rhythms and melodies which engage and surprise.

Mitchell's career includes membership of the seminal British band Tomorrow's Warriors; collaborations with saxophonists Courtney Pine, Greg Osby and Steve Coleman; and a range of his own solo projects and groups such as Panacea. His fascination with solo, left hand piano, has led him to establish Leftitude, a festival dedicated to the art in jazz and classical music. As Mitchell remarks in his sleeve notes, left hand-only piano playing is an established approach to the instrument, but one which goes largely uncelebrated. This lack of recognition is both a musical one and a social one—this is, after all, the hand which has been seen as both sinister and gauche.

The left hand on The Glimpse is neither of these things. Beautifully recorded, with the pianist's every nuance readily discernible, Mitchell's style is spacious, never attempting to fill every gap, recognizing the emotional impact of silence and using it to terrific effect. The result is often somber and reflective, but always beautifully judged.

In addition to his own material, Mitchell performs pieces from two masterful yet contrasting writers: pianists Federico Mompou and Fred Hersch. Mompou's "Prelude No. 6 (Pour La Main Gauche)" has a rather melancholy loveliness, Mitchell's resonant bass notes emphasizing the mood. Hersch's more fluid "Nocturne For The Left Hand Alone" trades the emotional impact of Mompou's composition for a greater sense of drama.

Mitchell wrote his first composition for left hand only, "The Glimpse," in 2010. It establishes an ability to explore the possibilities of the form which Mitchell develops through the remainder of these compositions and improvisations. Two improvised pieces display the musical contrasts. "Alice's Touch" is the album's slowest and most fragile tune, "Leftitude" its most assertive and strident. "The Sage" shows Mitchell's ability to create a character in sound—evoking the energy, temper and eccentricity of the titular individual. "The Re-Emergent" is Mitchell's loveliest composition, a work of real beauty and emotional depth.

The Glimpse is a delight—a true celebration of the beauty of left hand solo piano and a reminder of music's seemingly endless imagination and desire for creative exploration.

Track Listing

Amino; Zuni Lore; Prelude No. 6 (Pour La Main Gauche); Leftitude; The Defiant Gene; The Sage; A Confession; Lullaby No. 1; The Re-Emergent; Nocturne For The Left Hand Alone; The Glimpse; Alice's Touch.

Personnel

Robert Mitchell: piano.

Album information

Title: The Glimpse | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Whirlwind Recordings Ltd

Post a comment about this album

Watch

Tags

View events near London
Jazz Near London
Events Guide | Venue Guide | Get App | More...

Shop Amazon

More

Read An Open Dialogue
An Open Dialogue
Linda Sikhakhane
Read Rah! Rah!
Rah! Rah!
The Claire Daly Band
Read Artlessly Falling
Artlessly Falling
Mary Halvorson's Code Girl
Read Hi-Fly
Hi-Fly
Howard University Jazz Ensemble
Read And Then It Rained
And Then It Rained
The Michael O'Neill Quartet
Read You're It!
You're It!
The Mike Melito / Dino Losito Quartet
Read URBAN(E)
URBAN(E)
Mike Fahie Jazz Orchestra

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.