Jack Reilly

Masks

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The one certainty about any album by pianist Jack Reilly is that it will take the listener into the upper realm of pianistic virtuosity -- -- technical and interpretive -- -- with ear-tingling adventure. This compilation covers live performances from a variety of venues over a period from 1968 to 1995, but mostly from the 1980s and 1990s. The play list runs the gamut from modern Reilly originals to well-known standards. The program also moves back and forth between classical compositions and popular and avant-garde music, some played in tandem with each other. It's on those medleys combining two musical forms where Reilly shows his command of all melodic and harmonic possibilities. Kicking off the session is a medley which marries "Fantasie," a classical piece by Reilly, with "I Got Rhythm," a classic in its own right given that its chord changes formed the basis for many jazz compositions. Reilly's segue from the first part of the medley to the other is seamless, giving the impression that this sort of musical venture is a routine matter. Even without the added bonus of a Reilly piece at the front end of the amalgamation, his adept interpretation of the Gershwin masterpiece stands on its own. Reilly is also joined by leading practitioners of modern creative jazz music on several tracks, all coming together like the inner works of a finely made Swiss timepiece. Listen as Harvie Swartz and Ronnie Bedford join Reilly to liltingly disassemble and reassemble "Willow Weep for Me" -- a truly different arrangement of this venerable staple of jazz literature. Reilly manifests his flexible composing pen with a blues/gospel-based "Benedictus" sung by Sheila Jordan. Masks is one more fine effort by a pianist who constantly astounds with each succeeding session.

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