Saturday, June 1, 2013

Geoffrey Keezer Heart Of The Piano Motema 2013

 photo: Brad Buckman

Geoffrey Keezer has been quite the busy guy having kept busy as musical director for Denise Donatelli and working with Joe Locke to name but a few of his projects. Heart Of The Piano is the first Keezer release in over a decade, thirteen years to be exact. The amazing thing about Heart Of The Piano is that Keezer returns to the piano bench to tackle what is arguably the toughest format in music - the solo piano recording.

What makes Keezer's return so memorable is that instead of banging out his riffs on the usual suspects including Bill Evans, Chick Corea, and Dave Brubeck we find a tribute release to some of his personal and more popular favorites including tunes from Rush, Pete Gabriel and Christian McBride. The key to success in making these tunes work is maintaining rhythmic interest while maintaining a continuous groove throughout.

Welcome to the land of rhythm and groove...

Kicking off Heart of the Piano is the Keezer reharm of the pseudo-metal smash Limelight from Rush. While the incredible layers of texture seem to pulsate and take on a life of their own the melodic foundation here is flipped and Keezer takes ownership of this tune but for a brief moment in time. Normally an arrangement that transforms the melody into something somewhat unrecognizable creates an uncomfortable dynamic tension while Keezer's interpretation of the Rush classic is inventive and bold with deceptively subtle traces of the melody smoldering just below the surface. The Peter Gabriel tune "Come Talk To Me" has the melodic line making appearances thanks to the deft touch and melodic slight of hand that seems to be Keezer's wheelhouse. While some would argue the more familiar tunes as somewhat unrecognizable it is this very fact that makes Geoffrey Kezer's arrangements work so incredibly well. Played in a slightly more straight ahead fashion some of the more well known tunes of this wildly eclectic set could have easily come off sounding like something one would hear at a local piano bar. Another delight is the accidental discovery of the K.T. Tunstall tune "Suddenly I See." Keezer hit pay dirt when he discovered this often over looked gem thanks to Shazam. The arrangement here is a hybrid of Brazilian choro and his riff on the Coltrane quartet from the mid 60's.

Geoffrey Keezer is a top flight arranger, producer and happily after a 13 year lay off he can take his rightful place at the top of the pianists plateau today. The land of rhythm and groove and the impeccable touch of Geoffrey Keezer have never sounded better.

One of the better solo piano works today, Geoffrey Keezer is back at the piano bench where he should be!

Tracks: Limelight; My Love Is Like A Red Red Rose; Come Talk To Me; New York; Still; Suddenly I See; Chirizakura; Lullaby For A Ladybug; Grunion Run; Take Time For Love.

Geoffrey Keezer - Solo Piano.

Photo Credit Brad Buckman...