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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

CD Review: Paul Harrison - Ten Play Ten

Paul Harrison (pno).
(Review by Lance).
Manchester born Harrison's first solo CD is an impressive take on 10 of his favourite standards. Using all ten fingers - hence the title - and, I guess, a few toes as well judging by some of the electronic devices used .What is it with today's players and their obsession for digital delays and other forms of electronic sorcery?
However, despite having made public my Luddite tendencies I must confess that on this disc they are used sparingly and quite effectively so maybe I may yet arrive in the 21st century.
Harrison is well worth checking out. His playing is reflective and exploratory. He's not a grandiose, flamboyant - keep the piano tuner on standby - style player although he can unleash the technique when the situation demands it. To my ears he conveys the feel of Tristano, Bill Evans or Keith Jarrett in a subdued mood. 
Timing is the keynote here. Without the straitjacket of bass or drums, the pianist stretches the melody every which way  - including loose. Particularly loose! He delves deep into his bag of chords to create a rich harmonic texture often surprising but never "wrong".
A Foggy Day has some strange things happening before Harrison emerges from the mist with an almost Bachian reading of the tune and a Louissier-like improvisation.
I Got Rhythm; Louiza; Be My Love; A Pretty Girl is Like a Melody; If I Loved You/My Funny Valentine; The Summer Knows; Birthday Tango (For Nic); Every Time We Say Goodbye; A Foggy Day; Dream.
A choice selection of tunes performed in an original manner (Birthday Tango is an original by Harrison).
I'd like to tell you more but, like 9 out of 10 CDs these days, the notes are indecipherable unless you've got 20-20 vision, glasses with Jodrell Bank lens' and infra-red, ultra violet lighting. You'd stand a better chance if the notes were in Braille!
Fortunately, in this case, the music speaks for itself.
Paul Harrison - Ten Play Ten is available from Paul or at gigs. Check out 
Lance

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