Allen Farnham

Live at Maybeck Recital Hall Series, Vol. 41

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AllMusic Review by Richard S. Ginell

Volume 41 of the long-running Maybeck Recital Hall series finds Allen Farnham trying his hand at the solo piano game and scoring well in this all-revealing format. While employing many of the devices that Maybeck followers have come to know and expect -- the bop-centered foundation, the Tatum interjections, outbreaks of stride, the Bill Evans-influenced harmonies, a few classical borrowings -- Farnham uses them in a more musical, affecting way than most. Listen to the sly, elegant way in which he slips into the closing bars of "I Hear a Rhapsody"; the man has taste and a sense of structure. In addition to a handful of standards -- including an "In Your Own Sweet Way" with allusions to Brubeck's chordal manner and a nice "Waltz for Debby" -- Farnham contributes a couple of interesting improvisations entitled "Maybeck Sketches, No. 1" and "No. 2," and a sardonic reminder of the malady that threatens all keyboardists, "The Carpal Tunnel Blues."

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