Friday, March 30, 2012

Luke Gillespie Footprints RIAX 2003

Luke Gillespie is a rare breed. As a pianist that can tackle both jazz and classical without either overpowering the intended feel or structure of the piece, Gillespie is a musical titan at the piano bench. The resume of Gillespie alone is enough to turn most musicians green with envy and make the casual listener take more than a second listen to his work. Luke Gillespie has performed with such luminaries as Eric Alexander, Ron Blake, Jimmy Heath, David Liebman and Arturo Sandoval to name but a handful!

Jazz critics are known for hitting new releases hard and then moving quickly on to the next big thing. As a jazz advocate and jazz journalist there are times when taking a step back in time can help draw attention to work certainly deserving of wider recognition not to mention sounding as vibrant and fresh now as this particular release did when recorded in 2003.

Footprints is a most ambitious solo piano work from Gillespie that shines a brilliant line on his most prolific talents as both instrumentalist and arranger on a captivating release anchored with classics from John Coltrane and some inspired arrangements of Thelonious Monk classics such as "Round Midnight." Solo piano work can be the equivalent of tap dancing in a musical minefield for the less accomplished performer as every potential flaw is on immediate display. This is simply music that you can not "fix in the mix." Gillespie gives a stellar performance and delivers the goods as well as any solo recording you may hear.

Jazz historians that have checked their pretentious attitudes at the door and appreciate a more whimsical if not at times satirical sense of sonic humor will admire arrangements such "Blue In Green" where Gillespie incorporates the inspirational pattern of Bach's Italian Concerto while maintaining the Evans trademark of shifting meters. It is the very personal adaptation of Gillespie's inspirational takes on "Ask Me Now" where quotes are added from "In Walked Bud" and "Monk's Mood" that make Gillespie's Footprints uniquely his own.

Luke Gillespie would be considered a high priced free agent utility infielder. An amazing talent with the unlimited potential to do most anything on the musical playing field and perform at an amazingly high degree. Solo piano work is risky at best, Gillespie makes it look effortless!

Tracks: Haiku I; Footprints; Lush Life; Giant Steps; Round Midnight; Aria; What Is This Thing Called Love; All The Things You Are; Blue In Green; Skylark; DaNaBar; Ask Me Now; You Don't Know What Love Is; Haiku II.

Personnel: Luke Gillespie: solo piano.