Peter Gach — Fresh Piano
(Innova 730, 2009, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2011-06-01
Californian pianist Peter Gach here presents a set of pieces by five different contemporary composers from his home state; a variety of styles are represented, from decidedly lyrical to angular and rhythmic, and there is even some use of electronics. Gach’s playing adapts to the needs of each piece, and given that these are unfamiliar compositions, it’s hard to say what his personal voice adds. In general, these works do not adhere to specific schools of composition, but range widely, choosing elements from the history of music (mostly European) and synthesizing them into new hybrids. Gach starts off with a piece from Madelyn Byrne that includes some computer sounds to expand her imagery. Norman Weston’s “Sonata” is a wonderful brief bout of angular lines and jarring chords; Roger Przytulski gives us an eclectic piece inspired by Charles Ives and Fats Waller, among others. The parts of Ellen Wellers’ “Jazz Suite” purport to adapt 12-tone techniques into funk and ragtime, and while they succeed as individual entities, fail as actual funk and ragtime, so maybe it’s best not to know the titles. In William Bradbury’s “Chants Music” there are wonderful nods to Gregorian chant and folk dances. Madelyn Byrne’s “Suite for Piano and Computer: The Elements” finishes off the album with an expansive moody palette of chords and sampled singing. The whole set is marvellously selected and performed, and a welcome reminder that pianists need not limit themselves to the standards by Chopin, Rachmaninoff and the like.
Related artist(s): Peter Gach
Didier Lockwood RIP – Word reaches us today of the death of one of France's great jazz musicians, violinist Didier Lockwood. His playing bridged many worlds, from traditional jazz to fusion to progressive rock, and his talent can be heard on recordings by Magma, Clearlight, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, and many more. Lockwood was 62. » Read more
10 Years of Fruits de Mer - The Incomplete Angler – Those of you who are faithful followers of Exposé will know that we have been promoting Fruits de Mer and its side labels and releases from nearly its first year. Now music journalist and author Dave Thompson has written a book chronicling the past ten years as a celebration of this milestone. » Read more
Bill Bruford Ventures into Uncharted Territory – Drum master Bill Bruford, veteran of some of the most creative bands in history (King Crimson, Yes, Genese, etc.), is sharing some of what he's learned about being a drummer and a musician in his new book, Uncharted: Creativity and the Expert Drummer, out on University of Michigan Press. » Read more