Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Top Ten Sources

Looks like this blog got linked to from a site called Top Ten Sources today. Thanks!
--Brian

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

David Kikoski: The Maze

Great playing, good compositions, but (first impressions...) something's not making it happen as well as I know Kikoski can do. Apparently this is his first all-original session, writing six songs which sound as if he's working on a concept album (Puddles of Memory, Shame, Disentanglement...) - are these song titles chronicling the end of a relationship, maybe?

(Note: as I lived with this recording more and more, it grew on me. In fact, listening to the opening bars of the first track "Revival" does rev me up... now I'm quite fond of this set.)

Kikoski always seems like a precise and in-control player to me - in his playing and composing as well. His compositions are jazz but he sometimes add dramatic elements of classical or other types of piano music into his songs. This album has more of that, and several pieces play with time signatures or syncopation... but for some reason feels a bit too... plodding?... to me. Not exciting enough. There are moments (I like how the album begins strongly with Revival, but overall it doesn't generate the same feelings some of his other records have done. Try Surf's Up or Combinations. Blake on saxophone sounds polished but maybe a bit too smooth - is it the equipment or just how he chooses to play?

All that being said, I do have to admit that I'll listen to this album when I want to hear Kikoski, but have overheard his other recordings - it's a nice change, just not up to par with the other records he has available.

Released in 1999, Kikoski is joined by Seamus Blake (tenor sax), Scott Colley (bass), and Jeff "Tain" Watts (drums).

Interesting in this recording? Listen to audio samples and get it here: