Peter Gach — Fresh Piano
(Innova 730, 2009, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2011-06-01
Californian pianist Peter Gach here presents a set of pieces by five different contemporary composers from his home state; a variety of styles are represented, from decidedly lyrical to angular and rhythmic, and there is even some use of electronics. Gach’s playing adapts to the needs of each piece, and given that these are unfamiliar compositions, it’s hard to say what his personal voice adds. In general, these works do not adhere to specific schools of composition, but range widely, choosing elements from the history of music (mostly European) and synthesizing them into new hybrids. Gach starts off with a piece from Madelyn Byrne that includes some computer sounds to expand her imagery. Norman Weston’s “Sonata” is a wonderful brief bout of angular lines and jarring chords; Roger Przytulski gives us an eclectic piece inspired by Charles Ives and Fats Waller, among others. The parts of Ellen Wellers’ “Jazz Suite” purport to adapt 12-tone techniques into funk and ragtime, and while they succeed as individual entities, fail as actual funk and ragtime, so maybe it’s best not to know the titles. In William Bradbury’s “Chants Music” there are wonderful nods to Gregorian chant and folk dances. Madelyn Byrne’s “Suite for Piano and Computer: The Elements” finishes off the album with an expansive moody palette of chords and sampled singing. The whole set is marvellously selected and performed, and a welcome reminder that pianists need not limit themselves to the standards by Chopin, Rachmaninoff and the like.
Related artist(s): Peter Gach
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more