Greg Reitan

Antibes

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For his second CD release in less than a year, pianist Greg Reitan expands his horizons further with a program of originals and select standards identifying a blossoming player whose youth and experience at age 36 serves him and the listener quite well. He has passed the Bill Evans sobriety test, avoids clich├ęs of speed demons like Chick Corea, and has a European classicists approach similar, but not totally beholden to Keith Jarrett or Denny Zeitlin. Intellectual without ignoring beauty and romantic aspects of modern jazz piano playing, Reitan has all the talent, sensitivity, and good common sense to be a top-notch interpreter and expressionist for a long time. As evidenced by his performance of the title track -- dedicated to the area in the south of France renowned for its annual jazz festivals -- Reitan's elegant, mysterious, quick waltz is completely captivating. Admitting to being influenced by Glenn Gould (who isn't really?), the pianist steps it up even further on the bright, original line loaded with time changes "September," a fleet, darting melody of "One Step Ahead" with a canny bop sensibility that parallels Bud Powell, and uses a repeat phrase similar to the Beatles "Blackbird" on another romping theme, "Salinas," with a Pat Metheny like rural plains motif to boot. Bassist Jack Daro and drummer Dean Koba are along for this ride with plenty of smarts and taste not to get in harm's way. They do provide a certain synergy and depth-of-field vision when Reitan downshifts, as on the evocative Bill Evans composition "Re: A Person I Knew," Wayne Shorter's calmed, eventually cool "Fall," Zeitlin's hushed and implied "Time Remembers One Time Once," the lithe "Waltz for Meredith," the patient "In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning," or the empathetic, compassionate Jarrett piece "Sympathy." There's much to enjoy and appreciate on Reitan's sophomore effort, a good-sized leap forward for this emerging artist, a fine example of how progress is measured as time goes by and wisdom grows.

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