March 1999

William Kantner Woods
A Doctor's Dilemma
Fat Note Records

A Julliard-trained pianist who also happens to be a licensed MD, William Kantner Woods flexes his fingers for a session of musical healing on A Doctor's Dilemma (Fat Note Records FNR-1; 56:09). The doctor immediately displays a talent for stiff-fingered, highly detailed play on album opener "Round Two," but a highly programmed-sounding, dull synthesizer setting doesn't lead anywhere. This ailment reoccurs sporadically on the album's poppier tunes, including "Encounter X." The other side of the Dilemma is Woods' more meditative acoustic piano work, which on "The Boatman's Song" morphs from a classically wrought, dark waltz sort of intro into a freewheeling, skipping jaunt showing excellent technique, but not leaving much to grab melodically. The album's title track is the highlight here a multi-faceted suite wherein Woods plays with contrasting styles to convey shifting emotions. This meditative soundtrack-type work effectively displays Woods' considerable piano chops in a range of speeds and styles.

Originally published in March 1999
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