Brad Kay has been heard for years in the Los Angeles area playing his rollicking brand of stride piano with a variety of trad and 1920s-style groups. His style blends together aspects of James P. Johnson and early Duke Ellington with his own musical personality. This solo piano set, Healing Time, is quite a bit different than expected for it is billed as "original music to relax the body and please the brain." The idea behind the CD is to have a healing record, a set of relaxing and thoughtful music that helps one recover from a variety of life's troubles. Fortunately this is not the type of new age Musak-y music that one often associates with that function. Instead, it is, in Kay's words, "elements of jazz, blues, ragtime, American popular song, classical slow movements, and Debussyan impressionism to make a kind of slow, soft, mostly consonant and spare-textured music." The music, nine melodic originals, work well both as backgrounds and for close listening. Inspired by the late great singer Susannah McCorkle (a good friend of Kay's who urged him to go forward with the project), this heartfelt set is well worth exploring, both for those who are trying to win battles against aspects of life, and listeners who enjoy lightly swinging, vintage-piano music.
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