Dana Reason's Angle of Vision is simply melody, unplugged.
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
Dana Reason is a delightful Canadian born jazz pianist, composer and musicologist. It may be the musicologist that may have her just a tad too close to her own work but I will explain that point later. Angle of Vision is somewhat of a coming out party for Reason. A release that embraces an artistic epiphany of self discovery which leads to an intriguing smorgasbord of lyrical delights what while incredibly cerebral are slightly lacking the continuity of depth that other compositions here seem to embrace.
A riff on Astor Piazolla while technically as proficient as one can get has a somewhat recital like quality as does the same approach on music from Clara Schuman. The slightly organic chamber jazz approach certainly gets an A for effort however it lacks the same soulful sensitivity one finds in a breathtaking arrangement of the iconic Billie Holiday tune "God Bless The Child." The closing composition "Someday" is of course quoting the iconic "Someday My Prince Will Come" and with truly spectacular results. The original composition "Rendezvous" pops with vitality and is a most impressive tune to set the table for what is to come. Dana Reason is the real deal. Back to the issues of musicology, the two previously mentioned recital like pieces are but just slight sonic bumps in the road perhaps caused from an over analytical sense of self expression, hard to say. What is easy to say is that the positive points on this release are light years ahead of any possible negative points one might latch on to. The charm of the release is an obvious warmth, an intimate portrait of an artist discovering her own path and doing it right before your eyes and with stunning clarity.
The trio is rounded out with Glen Moore on bass and Peter Valsamis on drums and they complete Reason with counterpoint and finesse. Most piano trios are predictable with the rhythm section working as after thoughts and now playing with an artist but behind them, not here. The post production work on the sound pushes this release right back to the top and is a release any piano aficionado would be proud to have in their library.
4 Stars and climbing!
Tracks: Rendezvous; Unmarked; Paris Tango; On My Way; Moments With Clara; Night Club Skin; Angle Of Vision; God Bless The Child; Play Ball; September; Transition; Someday.
Personnel: Glen Moore: Bass; Dana Reason: Piano; Peter Valsamis: Drums