Thursday, November 14, 2019

Stephen Grew, Poseidon, Solo Piano

Further sounds for Avant solo piano hounds? Try Stephen Grew and his solo album Poseidon (self released), which was recorded at the Great Hall in the University of Lancaster in 2018.  It is a full, four-segment program of very hands-on energy-motility-movement piano which is not so much imitative as it is an original voice out of the tradition of  Cecil Taylor, an outgrowth of his initial burst forth.

You listen, you quickly sense difference, something very much testificatory but not subject to the same modulations as Taylor might have done in the course of a long solo. Instead we get scatter modules of boisterous expression both inventive and varied--and wholly in a realm of its own.

The phrasings are jazz-like, "blown" lines as emotive outpourings with a wailing quality as it were. There are plenty of ideas to be had in the course of the program. Moreover there is a feeling of constant motion that is hard-charging and harmonically unstable, with a feeling of constant change within a sphere of sameness. And that's good of course. The sheer speed and energy can be very exhilarating! And the consistency of style clusters in a given segment is very noteworthy.

Based on this album Stephen Grew is up there with some of the most exciting "out" pianists practicing today. That's saying a lot. Hear this one by all means!

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