Armed mostly with a brace of standards yet willing to do unpredictable things with them, Richie Beirach turns in one of the more thankfully idiosyncratic editions of the Maybeck Recital Hall Series (this is Vol. 19). This format allows Beirach to exploit his romantic credentials with only a nominal interest in the usual bop formulas, and he throws in a few startling unorthodox glissandos here and there to shake everyone up. Very often, he works compellingly with repetitions in the left hand; the prime examples of this include an "On Green Dolphin Street," and based mostly on the same stabbing syncopation on two notes in the left hand, a lovely now-and-then literal rendition of Bill Evans' take on "Some Other Time," and a sauntering semiboogie interpretation of "All Blues." There is also a unified stream-of-consciousness medley that opens with "Over the Rainbow" and winds up on "In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning," as well as a really unorthodox "'Round Midnight" with a few humorous surprises. A most absorbing recital, cleanly recorded.
Live at Maybeck Recital Hall, Vol. 19 Review
by Richard S. Ginell