John Hicks: At the Montreal International Jazz Festival

Pianist John Hicks weaves some real magic with this solo concert recorded five years ago at the Montreal Jazz Fest. He opens with a stridey “That Olde Devil Called Love” and then launches into an evocative and totally captivating tribute to Billy Strayhorn, blending “A Flower is a Lovesome Thing” with “Chelsea Bridge.” He follows with a tasteful reading of Gershwin’s “Embraceable You,” and then pays homage to Monk with a three-part medley of “Monk’s Mood,” “Reflections,” and “Ruby My Dear.” This is an exceptional solo recording-one, like all great art, that never bores or is overstated. Hicks’ ability to capture the heart of a melody shines when he solos, and on this generous 12-tune concert he truly glistens.