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July/August 2002

Eric Reed
From My Heart
Savant

Pianist Eric Reed's explorations of 10 ballads have a few moments that elevate the collection beyond pleasantness. On "'Round Midnight," following a suspended introduction, he beefs up his interpretation with Thelonious Monk second intervals and whole-note runs and a juicy quote from "Tangerine." Reed, bassist Dwayne Burno and drummer Cecil Brooks III achieve a lovely bossa nova float on "Prelude in E Minor," which lends itself nicely to the samba treatment and to Reed's grave Chopin chords at the conclusion. His voicings on "Flamenco Sketches" may not have the profundity the piece demands, but the anticipation and tension in Reed's lines carry the performance.

Throughout, Reed's touch and technique are impressive, nowhere more than "I Fall in Love Too Easily," with runs and arpeggios that nudge but do not quite cross the cocktail piano border. The album's only jarring notes come from the insistent clanging of Brooks' stick in the center of his ride cymbal on Lennon and McCartney's "Yesterday." The liner notes indicate that the effect is "a bit of Cape Verdean Islands lilt." Rather, it is a bit of irritation.

Originally published in July/August 2002
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