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Tuesday, December 01, 2015

CD Review: Paul Edis – Just Like Me/Not Like Me

Paul Edis (piano)
(Review by Russell)
Paul Edis’ new CD is a two-disc recording of compositions for solo piano. Recorded at the Literary and Philosophical Society, Newcastle on 22nd July 2013 and 5th June 2015 on the Edis Music label the release documents the pianist’s exploration of the art of solo improvisation. The gatefold CD design invites the listener to choose the first disc (to the left hand side) Just Like Me. This is the most recent recording and there is the temptation to listen to the other, earlier disc, first.
Temptation resisted, Just Like Me was first into the CD player. Twelve tracks (eight Edis’ compositions, four others variously ‘jazz standard’ and ‘traditional’) of considered piano playing illustrate the pianist’s innate sensitivities to compositional structure, the physical relationship with the keyboard and that most elusive quality…taste. Classical training has afforded Edis a command of his chosen instrument and the opening two tracks – Montage and Murmuration – suggest classicism is ever present in his thought processes.
Jazz improvisation is upper most on tracks such as the eponymous Just Like Me and John Coltrane’s Giant Steps. A reworking of Greensleeves and the commissioned composition For Kathleen are masterful performances, as is Percy Grainger’s Country Gardens.
The second disc – Not Like Me – was first made available as a download. This double CD release makes it an essential purchase for the audiophile. Twelve tracks (nine Edis’ tunes, two instantly recognisable popular music tunes and a jazz standard), recorded almost two years before the first disc, are of the same high quality. Pulse opens the disc and there is a clearly delineated pulse running throughout the piece. Indeed, a rhythmic pulse or flow is discernable across several tracks, notably My Favourite Things (track nine). Vignette has an interesting effect on the listener…Who’s that by? The realisation that it is by Paul Edis is disconcerting because it is so familiar! The opening notes of Bring Me Sunshine raise a smile every time. Edis takes the tune for a walk, laughing all the way. Dudley Moore and others would have approved. Sunrise closes the recording (Sunset closes the first CD).
The CD was recorded, engineered, mixed and mastered by Adam Sinclair and produced by Adam Sinclair and Paul Edis. Cover design by Kate Edis.
Just Like Me/Not Like Me by Paul Edis is available on Edis Music.
Just Like Me/Not Like Me is a five star recording. CD of the Year.
Russell.                        

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