Roland Hanna

Live at Maybeck Recital Hall, Vol. 32

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No stranger to the solo piano album concept, Sir Roland devotes the lion's share of Vol. 32 of the Maybeck Recital Hall series to the songs of George Gershwin -- individually and in bunches. After a rollicking "Love Walked In," "They Can't Take That Away From Me" saunters along with a sudden explosive shower of notes down the stretch. Later, with a dash of Paganini as a leading motive and other classical linking ideas along the way, a long Gershwin medley runs "Fascinating Rhythm," "The Man I Love," and "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off" together in a dazzling display of architecture. There are other composers represented, too, like a tumbling workout on Sonny Rollins' "Oleo" at a supersonic speed or an impressionistic meditation on Billy Strayhorn's "Lush Life." Throughout Sir Roland mixes his stride, Tatum, bop and classical strains freely, but with the structure of his instant compositions always in mind, the signs of a musician who knows how to put together a satisfying solo piano gig.

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