Monday, December 19, 2005

Last night New York Pianist Andy Milne played two beautiful and inspiring sets of music at the Red Guitar. If you have wondered if solo piano was an artform of the past or was better as a background music experience then you should have been there last night.

Milne reminded the listeners (one of the busiest Sunday nights in the clubs short history) that he is a unique artist that has chops to go around, a mighty sound and a delicate touch at the piano. Only twice in the evening was there any direct reference to "jazz history" and even then it was only in passing as he very briefly turned his improvisation towards any thing that resembled a "swing feel". There was no need to reference Cole Porter or Thelonious Monk as we had a part of the jazz lineage right there with us in the Red Guitar.

Was it jazz? This was jazz at it's highest level, where there was interesting arrangements on his own tunes and tunes that are from his (our) personal history such as Joni Mitchell's Amelia, Stevie Wonder's Overjoyed and a couple Neil Young classics. For me the strongest jazz element was the individulality in the music. Milne is able to play these songs beautifully while making them his own. His near decade travelling the world with Steve Coleman still comes through in small doses but Andy has since gone on to find his own special relationship to music and of course the piano.

The sound is a combination of interesting phrasing, odd metres and density with a generally dark harmonic palette. Most recently, you can hear this in his group writing for his Concord release Y'All Don't Know with his group Dapp Theory.

The final piece of the night was Message In a Bottle by the Police. Once again he managed to convince us that this music is a worthy vechicle for him as an improviser and us as listeners. Andy left us with a message that his piano playing was something special, exciting and something that is part of our lives today (that night) and hopefully in the future...sending out an SOS....


At 8:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

you should be writing for the globe!!



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