Published Mar 01, 2017Hailing from Nova Scotia but now based in Toronto, jazz pianist and vocalist Steve Amirault has been prudently honing his craft for years now. New album Hold On, Let Go mostly sets its sights on jazz standards, with a couple of original tracks mixed in — to varied results.
Amirault has the basic building blocks of jazz musicianship down pat, all while retaining the dynamic and agile capabilities to make the respective songs his own; his takes on numbers like "God Bless the Child," "Moon River" and "Pennies from Heaven" (that latter track benefitting from a particularly robust piano solo) are delivered as ordered, and he elevates each number ever so slightly.
Amirault's voice has a silky rich baritone timbre and unique phrasing that take each number in new direction. Case in point: his version of "What a Wonderful World" is more than capable from a musical perspective, although attempting to match Louis Armstrong's vocal approach is a tall order for anyone.
While his skills as a pianist slightly outshine his singing, taken as a whole, the 11-track album is worth your time. (Independent)