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Daniel Meron: This Was Now

Dan McClenaghan By

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Brooklyn-based pianist Daniel Meron rebels against the sometimes irksome ubiquity of electronic connectedness—smartphones, the internet, social media—with This Was Now, a solo piano recording of jazz standards, popular songs, Great American Songbook tunes, one free improvisation and one Israeli traditional song. He opens with the venerable "Body and Soul," a tune written in 1930, and launched to greater jazz fame by saxophonist Coleman Hawkins' 1939 rendition. The one that danced around the melody without ever quite stating it.

The piano is a mechanical, eighty-eight keyed percussion instrument—shining in its gleaming wooden glory in what might be considered a majestic quaintness in opposition to the plastic, circuitry-fill electronic world. And if this is a Zen experience of sorts, as the title of the disc implies—and if it is also the taking of a tangent away from the insidious ensnarement of the web—the instrument used to make the statement, as well as the opening tune, are perfect choices. It is a sound that harkens to an arguably simpler time, comparatively electronic-free, almost completely electro-leash free. Meron plays it with a throw-back, early 1940s Nat "King" Cole approach. But he doesn't let it settle in. His take on Miles Davis "All Blues" is a race, edgy and full of manic urgency.

The modern teen-pop song, "Teenage Dirtbag," has a brooding, Brad Mehldau feel that leads into Duke Ellington's "I Got It Band (And That Ain't Good)," that shares an old timey jazz feeling akin to the opening "Body and Soul." Moren revisits both of those classic tunes (not successively, more like a Blue Note reissue with the alternate cuts placed at the end of the recording)—inspecting different facets of these old gems.

Middle-Eastern motifs surface in "David," a tune that wouldn't sound out of place on a John Zorn, Book of Angels recording; "2:25 pm," named for the time it was recorded, lets Meron prove his mettle on a pure, inward-looking improvisation. Charlie Parker's "Confirmation" serves as a outward-looking highlight in a straight-through exceptional set.

Playing in a completely spontaneous mode—just sit down and touch the keys—Daniel Meron has created a consistently compelling listening experience with This Was Now.

Track Listing: Body And Soul (12:52 pm); All Blues; Teenage Dirtbag; I Got It Bad (10:52 am); David; Darn That Dream; 2:35 pm; Confirmation; Redemption Song; I Got It Bad (10:55 am); Body And Soul (3:07 pm).

Personnel: Daniel Moren: piano.

Title: This Was Now | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Rabbit Rabbit Rabbit Records

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