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01/13/14

Bryn Roberts
Fables
Nineteen-Eight

Fables is Canadian pianist-composer Bryn Roberts’ first album as a leader in more than eight years, during which time he functioned mainly as a sideman. In a press release he says that he picked up a “melodic directness” during those years as an accompanist for all manner of artists, and indeed it is his affection for a memorable tune that dominates. For the occasion Roberts recalled fellow Canadian Seamus Blake, the saxophonist on the prior studio set and a wise choice. They share that fondness for lyricism and an innate knack for feeding off one another’s cues—the title track, especially, serves as a showcase both for Roberts’ reflective moodiness and Blake’s intensity. (Another Blake, drummer Johnathan, also burns on this track.)

Make no mistake that Fables is Roberts’ moment though: In “December,” a brooding ballad, it’s he and bassist Orlando le Fleming sharing the floor, and Cole Porter’s “In the Still of the Night” is rendered with vigorous swing by the saxless trio.

Originally published in December 2013
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