John Roney Silverbirch

John Roney Silverbirch
Montreal pianist/composer John Roney is a seriously accomplished musician. On Silverbirch, he places his lyrical playing in a classical-ish environment of lush, resonant strings. His tunes range from a swaying dance in 3/4 ("Miniature #5") to the wholly romantic, through-composed "Rate of Change," in which he's absent save for his gorgeously rendered compositional imagination. Roney's playing swings with strength and assurance. And while there aren't the kind of shattering moments of iconoclasm some listeners yearn for, this clearly gifted musician sings through the piano, rather than merely typing on it, as is so often the case, even with some prominent pianists. It's easy to visualize this man, rocking back and forth, justifiably savouring the rapturous sensuousness of his playing and arrangements, as on his unconventional reading of Coltrane's classic "Giant Steps." On it, he integrates his assured playing on the tune's challenging changes with playful Bach-like phrase juxtapositions. This is a listening delight. (Effendi)