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Nicholas Chase — Tiny Thunder
(Cold Blue CB0064, 2023, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2023-03-13

Tiny Thunder Cover art

Like many of the other artists on the Cold Blue label, Nicholas Chase on his latest release Tiny Thunder is strictly a composer, the performance – in this case two extended solo piano pieces, is handled by Bryan Pezzone. If Pezzone’s name sounds familiar, that’s possibly due to his work with The Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group, The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, as a featured performer on over one hundred film scores, and having released several albums on various labels including Varèse Sarabande, Tzadik, Nonesuch and others. Chase has a number of previous recordings as well, though this is only his second for Cold Blue, the first was Bhajan, released in 2016. The opening track is the nearly-twelve minute “Zuòwàng,” a wandering, dreamy and peacefully introspective piece that is at once majestic and beautiful, subtle and revealing, with parts of the passages sometimes going silent for long periods, bathing the listener in a gentle warmth. The near-twenty mnute title track picks up where Zuòwàng” leaves off, in fact a listener might not even notice that a new piece has started, though as the piece proceeds in a similar style, it becomes apparent that it is being performed by four hands, overdubbed, though the mood of its predecessor carries through most of the duration of the title track, in gentle and introspective waves of eloquent emotion as it picks up energy slowly through the first half, then retreats again into something of a tranquil mist, before again picking up more swirling energy in the final minutes to live up to the thunder its title. Both pieces underscore Chase’s compositional mastery, and Pezzone’s skill as a performer, a cornucopia full of power and emotion.

Filed under: New releases, 2023 releases

Related artist(s): Nicholas Chase

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