Kris Davis - Aeriol Piano (Clean Feed, 2011)


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The profile of pianist and composer Kris Davis has been rapidly rising in the jazz world. Recently the recipient of a glowing write-up in the New York Times and the leader or co-leader of several renowned groups, this is her first solo piano album. Davis has a fascinating and unique piano style which incorporates the entire keyboard and even the interior of the piano, making the most of her available possibilites. This album begins with a fascinating reconstruction of the standard “All the Things You Are" where she barely uses the melody and develops her own very unique take on a well-worn song. “Saturn" features depth charge like low bombs of notes, akin to a technique used by Matthew Shipp, and then plucking inside the piano, making it sound like an African stringed instrument. Alternating playing inside and outside the instrument, making for an extremely interesting and original concept. Going in the other direction, “A Different Kind of Sleep" is made up of spare probing at the keyboard contrasted by a lot of open space. “Good Citizen" and “Stone" have an open rolling feel with the music gaining momentum and freedom as it blossoms, moving gently with accents and touches. “Beam in the Eyes" hits hard with a complex musical Morse code of rattling shifting low notes and figures that is consistently interesting. It is easy to understand why Davis has garnered such attention by listening to this album. She has her own unique piano style and plays with a great sense of adventure and mystery. The colors and textures of her music suggest unlimited possibility.

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This story appears courtesy of Music and More by Tim Niland.
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