Although drummer Steve Davis organized this date and is its nominal leader, pianist Richie Beirach is the main solo voice and star throughout. His lengthy improvisations (with Davis and bassist Francois Moutin) range from the introspective to the swinging and even include some whimsical moments (particularly on "Softly As in a Morning Sunrise" and a few of his song quotes). The playing is quite spontaneous, with Moutin and Davis closely following Beirach's ideas. Five of the songs (two of Beirach's better-known originals plus "Blue & Green," "Softly As in a Morning Sunrise," and "Nardis") clock in between eight and 11 minutes, while the closing medley of "Free," "Stella by Starlight," and "Solar" goes on for over 28 minutes. The interplay between the musicians is consistently intriguing and Richie Beirach has rarely sounded better. Well worth several listens.
Explorations & Impressions Review
by Scott Yanow