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The translation of melancholy into music can be a beautiful thing in any genre. Jazz, with its focus, on improvisation (to varying degrees), allows an artist to explore the nuances of mood. A framework that gives way to in-the-moment rumination or flights of fancy can make for the most evocative of sounds.
Melbourne, Australia-based pianist Jeremy Woolhouse goes solo on The Persistence of Dreaming, presenting a suite-like set of original tunes remarkable for their brooding cohesion and memorable lyricism. For a musician who switched from trombone and didn't get serious with the piano until he was nineteen years old, the now thirty-something Woolhouse has developed an elegant sense of keyboard harmony to go with his engaging way with a melody.
Much of the set, including the opener, "Fictional Lives," is steeped in a sense of existential loneliness. "Song for Lisa" celebrates, with a subdued reverence, friendship and muse, while "The Third Person," with its hopeful and introspective mood, may be taking a look, from the outside, at the concept of existence. "The Optimist's Folly" explores a light-versus-dark dichotomy (darkness seems to win) with its spare delivery and a mood of beautiful and measured melancholy.
This is a ballad set, with the title tune rising slightly, tempo-wise, above that description. The pace, introspection, gentleness, cohesion, and subtle beauty brings to mind a European/ECM Records jazz aesthetic on this very successful solo piano outing.
Track Listing: Fictional Lives; Song for Lisa; The Third Person; Optimist's Folly; The Persistence of
Dreaming; Three Kinds of Distance; Awakening to Darkness; Unsaid, Undone;
Presnece Beyond Absence; The Uncomfortable Present; Reality Revealed; Alone, in a
Pressing Crowd of Thoughts.
I love jazz because it mixes intellect and emotion in a very spontaneous way.
I was first exposed to jazz by liberating a Coltrane and a Pharoah Sanders record from a friend in NYC and listening to them over and over until I got it.
My advice to new listeners is you have to take the time to listen to some jazz tunes a number of times until it starts to make sense.