In the liner notes of pianist Matthew McCright, “new music can be hard to define” (in my mind, there are only two kinds of music: good and bad—it’s up to the listener to decide).
Accordingly, I will add my thoughts in a stream-of-consciousness manner.
To Spill Oneself Away (Dorothy Hindman, 2021)
Busy upper register start
shers in chords and questions searching…
A quasi bell tolling
Away to where?
Spill or spirit?
Is there a goal…or just the spilling…?
Exquisitely rendered with all of the necessary textures and tones (just a brief hint of Gershwin cements time then and time now).
Drama builds impressively until the double bar.
(…with the sound of a ripe fruit—falling…) Alican Çamci
Where to go?
Hard to “hear” the fruit fall…
But can feel the tree growing
As Far as You Can Stretch a Web (Andrea Mazzariello)
Is that worldwide, in a mesh of deceit, or Nature’s own?
“Prelude”: quietly tolling, a brooding composite—so positive and not so much
“Grid”: power strength and confidence is a compelling contrast, especially as it grows; do savour the journey and quiet adieu
“Prelude, retracted”: link of the pervasive pedal provides unity; still more to say/explore if so delicately…an abrupt conclusion
“Tether (or once you lose it, it’s lost)”: Ah, rhapsody at last!
Indeed, let’s not lose it!
McCright declaims as appropriate with just the right infusions of “hesitato”; it’s the gem of the lot.
“Preludes, folded”: Time to reflect on all that came before, with style, a touch of “spice” and appreciated reluctance to conclude the trek; and, of course, a final gluing toll.
Intermezzo (Takurma Itoh)
Soothing calm with a few upper register tolling (again) “comments”
The main thrust almost totally confident; second “subject” offers middle register “hope”
Then, more exploration of possibilities
McCright understands and executes it all with subtle panache.
Echoes (Kirsten Soriano)
At times, almost whimsical
Bits of pain provide, curiously, relief
McCright plays all of these cards carefully, before slipping into the ether…
Your Hands, as They Are (Andrea Mazzariello)
Immediately feels like an Ode to Self, lovingly shared
“Speak hands for me” personified
Gradually lets more “others” in
More and more at ease with self and purpose
Uplifting for any who have internal fears—deserved or not.
Blue Diamonds (Paul Dresher)
These diamonds are never in the rough thanks to McCright’s sensitivity and skills.
In no rush to discover
Very cinematic, needs a treatment
Eruption and ritornello
Gradually intensifies with push and pull
Then, more frivolous and light
Ebb & flow
Strengthening builds, yet still in no rush…
Where else to go?
To a well-polished, secure destination
Finally, a few moments to relax
But, the quest must continue
The lines expand with just a hint of jazz added to the mix
(echoes of Lenny?)
Now, confidence to burn
One last, welcome, harmonic shift
And we arrive, gleaming! JWR