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Tuesday, January 08, 2019

CD Review: Alan Pasqua - Soliloquy

Alan Pasqua (piano).
(Review by Lance)

Alan Pasqua comes to the Hamburg Steinway in his Santa Monica studio with a c.v. so impressive that to describe him as a legend is surely no more than he deserves.

A former member of Tony Williams' New Lifetime appearing on the albums Believe it and Million Dollar Legs, Pasqua has also worked with Jack DeJohnette, Paul Motian, Dave Holland, the Brecker Brothers, Joe Henderson, Stanley Clarke, Gary Burton, James Moody, Jones/Lewis Jazz Orchestra and many others. Away from Jazz (but not too far away), he has also recorded with Bob Dylan and Carlos Santana.

Solo piano albums can sink or swing depending on the material and the ability of the performer to escape the clichéd path set by his musical ancestors. Waller, Tatum, Peterson, Garner, Hines Wilson, Powell, Evans, Jarrett etc. practically etched the parameters in stone and few, with the exception of Monk, were able to transcend them. 

Pasqua does it in his own way. Harmonically and melodically his chord voicings are a joy to the ear. Exploring, leisurely, expansively, he takes nine standards and a Bob Dylan composition (Girl From the North Country) and turns them into even greater works of art than they already were. Sometimes it's just a couple of unexpected inversions that suddenly seem so absolutely right and you wonder, was this what Arthur Sullivan and Jimmy Durante were looking for when the former was 'sitting one day at the organ, weary and ill at ease' and the latter was 'cracking walnuts with his foot'?

If ever there was any doubt about Pasqua's legendary status this album confirms it 110%.
Although it was released on November 18, 2018*, as I only received it this month, it's bound to be among my 2019 frontrunners.
Lance.
Hello Young Lovers: I Got it Bad; Lotus Blossom; I See Your Face Before Me; In a Sentimental Mood; Embraceable You; Isn't it Romantic?; Girl From the North Country; A Time For Love; There Are Such Things.
* Available from all the usual suspects.

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