Greg de Denus Solo Piano/Live at Gallery 345
Published Mar 02, 2014If you're a classical music fan and would like to find a way into jazz, pianist Greg de Denus will open that door for you. While the nine-track album begins with two distinctly jazz pieces — Steve Swallow's "Falling Grace" and Thelonius Monk's "In Walked Bud" — both tunes are interpreted in ways that are infused with classical technique, phrasing, ornamentation and dynamic nuance.
The loping feeling of swing is not at the centre of the pianist's approach to improvisation. Pieces like "Chorale" would be at home in classical recital, in spite of the strong improvisational element in its overall development. "Xy" starts with a folk song-like theme, but explores its romantic feel using rippling lines and bass scales. The two opening jazz pieces might be familiar to jazz listeners, but their treatment will seem less mischievous and funky than is usual in a club environment that is its traditional home, like someone wearing a tuxedo at a bar. (Pet Mantis)