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David Berkman: Self-Portrait

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David Berkman, an inventive pianist and accomplished composer and bandleader, is in a reflective, romantic mood on this solo outing. He turns in lovely, faithful renditions of Jerome Kern’s “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes,” George Gershwin’s “Embraceable You” and Jimmy Van Heusen’s “It Could Happen to You,” then takes great liberties on highly impressionistic, barely recognizable versions of “Body and Soul,” Gershwin’s “But Not for Me” and Jule Styne’s “Just in Time.” The lone swinger here is “Milestones”-the 1947 John Lewis tune that appeared on Miles’ first album as a leader, not Miles’ 1958 modal masterpiece of the same name. Berkman also includes the affecting original “Tiny Prairie Landscape” and four improvised sketches on this crystalline document.

Originally Published