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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.
Jazz is a continuing revelation. The best show I ever attended was the
Roots Picnic at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia, or was it Robert
Glasper's Experiment at Lincoln Center, or was it Chick Corea with
Brian Blade at Oberlin College? Most of all I enjoy playing guitar and
composing beats with my Brooklyn-based group Space Captain.