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Rafael Zaldivar: Consecration (Effendi)

Keyboardist Rafael Zaldivar invokes traditional Afro-Cuban spirituality in both his music and his message, but his thematic scope is far-ranging. His keyboard work is devoid of pyrotechnics; he uses space to create depth, then fills it with precisely articulated arpeggios and single-note punctuations to build a delicate tension. That tension is then dispelled by the … Read More “Rafael Zaldivar: Consecration (Effendi)”

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John Escreet: Learn to Live (Blue Room)

After an anthemic opener resounding with block chords and splintered beats, John Escreet toggles between form and freedom, composition and improvisation on Learn to Live. In doing so, the British-born, Brooklyn-based pianist and keyboardist doesn’t just provide an expansive view of his inside-out interests. Through a prism of jazz improv, fusion, funk, R&B, and synth … Read More “John Escreet: Learn to Live (Blue Room)”

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Now vs. Now: The Buffering Cocoon (Jazzland)

Keyboardist Jason Lindner first gained notice leading a big band at the New York nightclub Smalls. He has a solid résumé backing singers, playing Latin jazz, and leading and being an integral part of various small, adventurous, postbop ensembles. Chick Corea once described him as “a musical universe.” But as he nestles into his mid-forties, … Read More “Now vs. Now: The Buffering Cocoon (Jazzland)”

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Erik Deutsch: Falling Flowers (LoHi)

The keyboard skills of Erik Deutsch have landed him in wide-ranging settings, including but not limited to adventurous jazz (Steven Bernstein, Nels Cline) and jam bands (Leftover Salmon). On his own albums, of which Falling Flowers is number six, he isn’t afraid to switch stylistic gears between songs. The mood from start to finish exudes good … Read More “Erik Deutsch: Falling Flowers (LoHi)”

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Robert Walter’s 20th Congress: Spacesuit (Royal Potato Family)

Keyboardist Robert Walter is like the ultimate sixth man in basketball—a super-skilled player who comes off the bench to provide support and symmetry to a starting lineup. As the leader of his own 20th Congress quartet … well, he’s a great sixth man, and Spacesuit is the latest evidence thereof. A concept album of sorts … Read More “Robert Walter’s 20th Congress: Spacesuit (Royal Potato Family)”

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Django Bates’ Belovèd: The Study of Touch (ECM)

In his latest press bio, the British keyboardist and composer Django Bates memorably characterizes the operating methods of Swedish bassist Petter Eldh and Danish drummer Peter Bruun, his partners in the piano trio Belovèd. “What Petter and Peter bring to this music of mine,” he says, “is a refusal to play what I’ve written.” Why … Read More “Django Bates’ Belovèd: The Study of Touch (ECM)”

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