Joel A. Martin: Jazzical: A Marriage of Classical and Jazz

A fascinating exploration “beyond category.” Martin has appeared as a soloist with the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra and the Baltimore Symphony. He believes that classical theme-and-variation, and jazz theme-and-improvisation can be merged without trivializing either. This CD is powerful evidence that there is interesting and valid music at the intersection of the two vernaculars. “Rather than compose wholly original, classical-like pieces,” he “sought inspiration from classical motives”: Stravinsky’s Grand Chorale and Petit Chorale from “The Soldier’s Tale;” Chopin Nocturnes, Op. 72 and 37; Brahms’ Intermezzo; Chopin, Promenade and Chiarina from Schumann’s “Carnival;” and Reverie and Girl With the Flaxen Hair by Debussy. Martin has chops, ideas and Bill Evans’ romantic expressiveness (with nods to Monk and Dizzy). The pianist is joined by bassist Jonathan Gilley on seven tracks, with drummers Bruce Cox or Scott Latzky on four tracks.