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Renee Rosnes: Jazz Pianist

This warmly composed tape successfully captures the pianistic brilliance of Renee Rosnes. As framed by the sensitive eyes and ears of director-producers Daniel Berman and David W. Brady, Rosnes’ probing improvisations are set against telling interviews that add to the viewer/listener’s appreciation. For example, the connection between art and life is made specific in the pianist’s comments on the genesis of “Ache of the Absence,” a poignant meditation reflecting the emotions surrounding the recent death of Rosnes’ mother. Noting such varied influences as Bartok and Tatum, Rosnes reveals a broad and eclectic taste exemplified in an homage to Thelonious Monk via “Eronel,” a spirited romp featuring a stirring melodic essay by the lyrical Drummond.

Taped in 1996 for a consortium of Canadian and American cable sponsors including Bravo, the half-hour broadcast version includes the aforementioned “Ache of the Absence” and “Eronel,” as well as an energetic reading of Rosnes’ tempestuous “Lexicon.” In an addendum to the broadcast tape, we’re treated to equally-inspired out-takes of Alec Wilder’s “Moon and Sand” and Jimmy Rowles’ “The Peacocks,” strikingly rendered in dramatic black & white. Throughout, one is impressed by the trio’s hand-in-glove interplay. Grenadier and Drummond are superb. And Rosnes? Well, it’s no wonder that she’s a fan favorite as well as a musicians’ musician. Indeed, she’s one of the great and inspiring hearts of the contemporary scene.

Originally Published