Jazz Up Your Holiday Season
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Publication: The Philadelphia Inquirer
Author: Karl Stark
Zesty nuggets abound on the mostly solo recording from pianist Joey Calderazzo, a wild-fingered cat who rose to prominence in the late 1980s courtesy of the late Philly-born saxophonist Michael Brecker.
Calderazzo is perhaps best known now as the pianist in the Branford Marsalis Quartet. His playing can be off-putting for its assertive complexity, but here it’s anything but.
Calderazzo seems to be conjuring Brecker’s spirit, playing the saxophonist’s “Sea Glass” in a hushed state that’s shimmering and beautiful, and presenting two other Calderazzo originals, “Midnight Voyage” and the title track, which he recorded with Brecker.
The results tend to be handsome. Calderazzo dispenses with the genius-pianist guise and plays pretty. On “Midnight Voyage,” probably his best-known tune, he reimagines stride piano with fistfuls of new harmonics. He invites in Chilean singer Claudia Acuña and Brazilian guitarist Romero Lubambo for three tunes, including a sensual take of Calderazzo’s “The Lonely Swan.” Also fun: hearing him deconstruct and reconstruct Frank Loesser’s “I’ve Never Been in Love Before.”