Friday, April 1, 2022

John C. O’Leary III; The Sunderling

These piano solos and duets are not exactly jazz. But then they’re not exactly classical either. They seem to bring us elements of both. What can be said for sure is that they are gentle and romantic although there are moments of intensity as well. The other pianists here and there are Shaun Martin and Dick Hyman, both of whom share some duo appearances with O’Leary. Ten of the fourteen compositions included on this unusual but beautiful disc are written by O’Leary; one by Martin; and one by Hyman. The two remaining selections are works of Jerome Kern & Oscar Hammerstein II; and Duke Ellington. And performances are either solo efforts from O’Leary, or in some cases, inspired duos. The two familiar pieces here---just enough to please the jazz purist crowd---are “All The Things You Are” and “C Jam Blues”. The precision and musical presence of both artists shine brightly throughout this recording. There is a shimmering, timeless quality to it. To use a cliché, “it just might carry you away”.

Arbors Records; 2022; appx. 72 min.

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