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January/February 2009

Larry Ham
Just Me, Just You
Arbors Records

This is an unspectacular, unassuming, relatively quiet, likable solo piano recital. Larry Ham’s approach is so measured and orderly that you might think you are hearing standards like “My Romance” and “If I Should Lose You” and “I Can’t Get Started” virtually unadorned. In fact Ham subtly recasts them with his harmonic shadings and slight displacements of phrasing and continuous, thoughtful additional details. But he always sounds like his respectful, careful encounter has put him in touch with a song’s essence.

There is not much variation in tempo. This music unfolds like a single long, interrelated meditation at one methodical medium pace. Just Me, Just You is an apt title for this album. There is an intimacy and directness and honesty here that makes this music very good company.

Originally published in January/February 2009
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