Thursday, August 1, 2013

Craig Hartley Books On Tape Volume I 2013

A deconstructed self portrait of a pianist posed to mark a significant mark in improvised music.
Brent Black / @CriticalJazz

First released on an Independent Italian label we find Craig Hartley offering a new harmonic riff on an old favorite, the piano trio. To be fair, vocalist Dida Pelled makes an exciting vocal addition to one of the first pieces Hartley tried his skills as a lyricist in an engaging attempt at taking a stab at what could pass as part of the Great American Songbook. This Cole Porter flavored gem begs for attention as Pelled and Hartley have a seemingly natural chemistry and the possibilities of additional compositions would seem to be the natural course of events. Fabio Morgera does his best Chet Baker riff on "Why Not" and "Just For Me."

Craig Hartley makes an impressive yet incredibly intimate presentation that while subdued and slightly melancholy is an organic microcosm of personal experience with an ebb and flow that is reminiscent of early Bill Evans. There is a spontaneous creative quality coupled with a harmonious synergy of lyrical movement as though passing through very definitive points of time. Hartley creates a new and incredibly captivating voice for modern improvisational piano while remaining incredibly grounded and melodically indifferent to his contemporaries.

Simple unadorned packing with a complexity of lyrical dynamics and deceptively subtle finesse and impressionistic wonder finds Craig Hartley as a potential driving force for post modern jazz in an all too predictable format.

A refreshing and wildly addictive voice for the next generation of pianists.

Tracks: Dial 411; My Foolish Heart; Books On Tape; Why Not; K2?; I Should Love You More; Just For Me; Froghollow; Just For Me (Yet).

Personnel: Craig Hartley: Piano; Carlo De Rosa: Bass; Henry Cole: Drums; Fabio Morgera: Trumpet  (4,9); Dida Pelled: Vocals (6).

4.5 Stars.