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.

Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Whirlwind Recordings Ltd | Style: Beyond Jazz


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read United CD/LP/Track Review United
by Mark Sullivan
Published: March 23, 2017
Read Chromola CD/LP/Track Review Chromola
by John Eyles
Published: March 23, 2017
Read Satin Doll – A Tribute to Billy Strayhorn CD/LP/Track Review Satin Doll – A Tribute to Billy Strayhorn
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 23, 2017
Read Nature City CD/LP/Track Review Nature City
by Henning Bolte
Published: March 23, 2017
Read Beninghove's Hangmen Plays Led Zeppelin CD/LP/Track Review Beninghove's Hangmen Plays Led Zeppelin
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: March 23, 2017
Read This Is The Uplifting Part CD/LP/Track Review This Is The Uplifting Part
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 22, 2017
Read "The Core Trio Live, featuring Matthew Shipp" CD/LP/Track Review The Core Trio Live, featuring Matthew Shipp
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 20, 2016
Read "Between Brothers" CD/LP/Track Review Between Brothers
by Jack Bowers
Published: March 29, 2016
Read "Duopoly" CD/LP/Track Review Duopoly
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 26, 2016
Read "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off" CD/LP/Track Review Let's Call the Whole Thing Off
by Edward Blanco
Published: August 29, 2016
Read "Christmastime in New Orleans" CD/LP/Track Review Christmastime in New Orleans
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: December 11, 2016
Read "Alba" CD/LP/Track Review Alba
by Mark Sullivan
Published: June 7, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: DOT TIME RECORDS | BUT 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!