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John Polito: Crossing the Line

Vivid, meditative mood painting dominates keyboardist John Polito’s Crossing the Line (Seventh Wave/Green Note SWP 1584; 47:09). Known as a master technician who specializes in reengineering and cleaning up older recordings, Polito’s feel for sonic nuance comes through in the details, like the sweet orchestral feel of “Walk in the Clouds” and the broad, sweeping textures and noises opening “Spanish Rain,” which morphs into a light, muted dance. Though he occasionally wanders into over-dramatizations, like the wind sounds and waves deadening the piano melody of “Time and Space,” Polito shows a remarkable talent for building a mood. Whether it’s the introspective elegance of the piano-cello duo “Union,” the chord-spelled piano meditations of “Heaven Knows” or the lightly sizzling glow of acoustic guitar and hard-hitting horns on “Aurora Alegre,” the composer’s work is often transporting. With a greater interest in mood and exploration than definitive melodic structure, Polito’s work has the power to absorb a listener in its own musical spaces.

Originally Published