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Travels is the long awaited debut album for one of the younger voices in jazz piano. The term debut, however, is ill suited for someone like Adam Birnbaum, who has spent his short career opening for, and performing with, some of the better-known names in the industry such as saxophonist Greg Osby and pianist Brad Mehldau. As a result, the music presented in this album reflects a well thought-out, technically proficient, and quite simply, talented pianist who is at the top of his successful, albeit, new career.
The dissonant, yet melodically soothing "Three for One" delightfully showcases Birnbaum's ability to be musically derivative, while still maintaining a fresh voice. The haunting chordal interplay on the drum/piano exchange delivers edge of your seat excitement. Robert Schumann's "Hor' Ich Das Liedchen Klingen" is an exquisite treat on this album. Taking the late composer's waltz, Birnbaum has transformed a piece of classical tradition into a swinging jazz ballad. Simultaneously, it woos over the best of sentimental listeners, while revealing a sought after technical proficiency in the pianist's lines.
Birnbaum's piano playing is a fine display of what a beautiful blend of technical mastery, originality, and respect for those that came before, can achieve. Travels presents extremely catchy, intellectually pleasing compositions, performed by a musician who has nowhere to go but up if he continues to rise to such acoustically profound endeavors.
Track Listing: Jackhammer; Kat's Dance; Three for One; Kate the Great; Travels; Band
Call; Song of Those Who Seek; House Party Starting; Hor' Ich Das
Liedchen Klingen; Urgency; The Very Thought of You; Camden.
Personnel: Adam Birnbaum: piano; Joe Sanders: bass; Rodney Green: drums.
I grew up listening to mainstream '70s rock then ended up on the staff at the college paper at San Diego State, and volunteered to review heavy metal LPs. My second semester, the music editor dropped a Fenton Robinson LP on my desk, Night Flight. You like metal; they play guitar--he plays guitar, the editor told me
I grew up listening to mainstream '70s rock then ended up on the staff at the college paper at San Diego State, and volunteered to review heavy metal LPs. My second semester, the music editor dropped a Fenton Robinson LP on my desk, Night Flight. You like metal; they play guitar--he plays guitar, the editor told me. If we don't run a review, Alligator Records is going to stop servicing us.
Night Flight opened up a whole new world for me--the blues led me, inevitably, to Basie, who led to Duke, who led to Mingus, who led to Miles, who led to ...