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Ian Bargh: Only Trust Your Heart

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Ian Bargh, a Scotsman transplanted to Toronto, has made a name for himself as pianist of choice for many visiting musicians. It’s easy to see why: Bargh commands an impressive technical arsenal that he deploys with judgment and taste. Most pianists use one of two approaches to improvisation. They either focus on creating melodic lines over some kind of left-hand accompaniment, or they intersperse melody (often paraphrases of the composed line) with all kinds of runs and fills. Bargh uses both approaches in various ways. Whether your taste runs to the understatement of “When April Comes Again” or the almost Tatumesque “Laura,” Only Trust Your Heart is a very engaging offering. The program is a big plus, featuring such unobvious highlights as the title track (by Benny Carter), Duke’s “Serenade to Sweden,” and the already-cited “April,” by Paul Weston.