David Haney

Caramel Topped Terrier

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For many, the primary interest in this recording will undoubtedly be the opportunity to hear the sidemen. American trombonist Julian Priester and Dutch compatriots, drummer Han Bennink and bassist Wilbert de Joode, are major figures in modern improvisation, and Canadian leader David Haney's ability to attract them is a testament to his reputation and organizational skills. This release may do something to enhance the classically trained pianist's reputation as a progressive free improviser. He takes a somewhat minimalist approach, his hands often darting forth with swatches of chords of two or three notes. Of the 12 pieces, the pianist plays alone on five, in duo with Priester on four, and as part of a trio with the Dutchmen on the remaining three. While Haney states that "most of the music was spontaneously composed," he also admits that he was not satisfied with his playing on the trio tracks, and he therefore re-recorded his piano parts, an unusual and even questionable action. Nonetheless, his playing reveals an attractively individual style, somewhat morose but also thoughtful and occasionally innovative. Perhaps not surprisingly, the best tracks are those with the trio, although there is some good (but also, unfortunately, some pedestrian) work from Priester, who is most impressive when he experiments with his sound.

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