David Ian is that rare breed of artist that can embrace a melody and give a second life to a time tested classic.
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
Flowers and candy are Valentine's Day staples...Most people screw the pooch when they try music so let me help you out. Get David Ian's Valentine's Day...It is just that easy.
After two critically acclaimed Christmas releases, David Ian is back with a studio release that transcends the "Valentine's Day" holiday vibe and morphs into a simple yet deceptively nuanced set of standards that are zen like in execution while amazingly sophisticated in presentation. Intimate, organic, and deconstructed are all adjectives that could easily become the benchmark for those looking to release a recording of standards.
Vocalists Kevin Max, Acacia, Andre Miguel Mayo, and Talitha Walters Wulfing contribute first rate vocal performances while Gospel legend Russ Taff turns in a surprise and oddly whimsical rendition of "Sweet By and By." The key to success here is the Vince Guaraldi throwback sound of what a retro jazz piano trio should actually sound like. When dealing with a set list that includes "My Funny Valentine" along with "Night and Day" and "Someday My Prince Will Come" one is best advised not to stray too far from the conventional melodic path. It is David Ian's masterful manipulation of harmonic self discovery that pulls colors you can hear from melodies savored and not mangled. The rhythm section operates from the same lyrical playbook as Ian and the use of strings adds texture to what is a truly memorable offering in Valentine's Day.
Recordings such as this normally fall into the lounge lizard category of cocktail hour jazz, not here. David Ian is an artist that has the ability to pull from a spot deeper than the soul. An organic yet inventive recording that confirms something I have known for some time, David Ian is the finest "unknown" pianist in the western hemisphere.
Tracks: Autumn Leaves; My Funny Valentine (featuring Kevin Max); Stella By Starlight; Solitude (featuring Acacia); Someday My Prince Will Come; Emily; Young And Foolish (featuring Andre Miguel Mayo); Summertime (featuring Talitha Walters-Wulfing); Night And Day; There Will Never Be Another You; *Sweet By and By: Russ Taff (bonus track).
Personnel: David Ian: Piano, Guitar; Upright Bass: Jon Estes; Drums, Percussion: Josh Hunt; Violins: Elizabeth Estes; Cellos: Mat Nelson.
Special Thanks To Michael Bloom at Michael Bloom Media Relations