This is the Eric Reed release we have all been waiting for!
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
I have been tough on Eric Reed...
Eric Reed has never shied away from being tough on critics. Los Angeles times columnist Robert Hilburn always advised never becoming too close to an artist and Eric Reed may well be the poster child for why I should have listened to Bob. Personal feelings aside, Reflections Of A Grateful Heart is the finest offering from Reed since Dancing Monk and easily the creative apex of his stellar career. Eric Reed is a man of passion and conviction and occasionally this seems to have derailed some releases that wound up as self indulgent sonic flat lines that were pretty much done before they ever really got started.
Solo piano is the equivalent of tap dancing in a lyrical minefield. This stellar solo piano effort embraces the musical DNA that is Eric Reed, a soulful and soul filled spiritual offering that is an intimate self portrait of the visceral being that is Eric Reed. "I Love The Lord" from Richard Smallwood is not just reinvented but deconstructed and elevated to an organic level that gives the composition new life. The original composition "New Morning" encapsulates the prolific talent of an artist that has seemingly been lingering in that second tier of pianists for far too long.
Eric Reed first rose to prominence thanks to Wynton Marsalis.
Leader or accompanist?
Reflections Of A Grateful Heart shows the promise that Reed has never perhaps lived up to in terms of critical recognition but then again Reed doesn't care about that. The artistic integrity of Eric Reed is certainly unchallenged, provided ego and arrogance can be kept in check this could be that start of something big.
A stellar release!