Dave Peck

Solo

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This album of solo piano by Seattle-based Dave Peck is not for background music at dinner or for a game of bridge. It demands your complete and unabridged attention. That's because Peck has some unique impressions of the music he is playing that takes the listener down some twisting and turning pathways, but always ends up in a logical resting place. With a musical program of mostly standards, Peck's impromptu liberties with the melody lines and accents brings about new depth and insight to these oft-played tunes. For five or six minutes, he makes them his, embellishes them with his ideas on what they mean, and then returns them not only intact, but the better for the experience. On such tunes as "Skylark" and "The Lamp Is Low," one waits for the familiar melodies before they are slyly and quietly brought in through the backdoor, almost as codas. And the reaction is "Oh, I see what he was doing." The latter tune also offers some interesting explorations on the use of tempo to make a point. The melody is made obvious much sooner on such tunes as "My Man's Gone Now," where Peck's ideas come across as variations on a classical theme, a la Beethoven's "Diabelli Variations." The melody line is stated from the outset to establish an anchor for what follows. All pieces, however, have been injected with varying doses of romanticism and flourish. Making almost an hour of solo piano an attractive listening experience is a challenge that many better-known pianists have taken on, and not always with the success Peck has achieved with this album.

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