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5

Dr Bekken: Upright Piano - Live At Bar Moskus

Jim Worsley By

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There is a monster on the loose! Don't be alarmed though. It is the monster left hand of Norwegian pianist Tor E Bekken.

Tor E Bekken has several jazz and blues recordings to his name and has taken the show on the road. Live at Bar Moskus is a solo upright piano performance that demonstrates power, finesse, stylistic interpretations, and a grand knowledge of the instrument.

A musical descendant of Jelly Roll Morton, Bekken continues his exploration into older jazz and blues, as well as free form. His subtleties are many, his dynamic mastery of the upright is superb.

Bekken's right hand is as clean, dexterous, and melodic as the left hand is powerful and constant. It represents the full pianist package and is played with delight, grace, and vigor.

Featuring a mix of Bekken originals and his take on standards, Live at Bar Moskus delivers consistently in a seamless flow from start to finish. Among others, Bekken treats us to his sharp-eared renditions on tunes from Fats Waller, Earl Hines, and Fats Domino. It is, however, his originals that rise above. He opens the set by gently grooving into a boogie woogie piece entitled "Red Is In The House." "Moskus Blues" is an earthy prescription written by the good doctor. His composition, "The Conspiratory Boogie," has an intrigue and upward pacing to it that is intense and joyful at the same time.

Not content with the ten-song offering, the crowd prodded Bekken back on stage to get his Elvis on for a rousing version of "Hound Dog." He then closed softly and elegantly with the beautiful "I'm Confessing That I Love You."

The recipe is more than a dash of New Orleans style jazz, blended with solo improvisations, mixed with the blues, and seasoned with Bekken's own special ingredient. Out of the oven comes a strong rhythmic drive and lyrical ballads that are deeply melodic and rich in underlying structure.

Track Listing: Red is in the House; Give Me the Single Life; Moskin's Blues; Ingo/Yellow House; Monsieur Touson; Rosetta; Valley of Tears; I've Got the Feeling I'm Falling; The Conspirator Boogie; I'll Be Home; Hound Dog; I'm Confessin' That I Love You.

Personnel: Tor E Bekken; solo piano

Title: Upright Piano - Live At Bar Moskus | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Blue Mood Records/Grappa

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