John Bickerton

Open Music

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To be sure, John Bickerton is a talented pianist. His technical mastery is superb. Yet, somehow this trio with bassist Wilber Morris and drummer Rashid Bakr does not quite gel as it should. In part, this may have something to do with the extended use of pedals by Bickerton, a tool that sometimes muddies the mix. There is also a slightly self absorbing aspect to his playing, which leaves the listener a few steps behind. That being said, Bickerton brings to the fore some incredible abilities and an original concept that in a more focused venue might produce superior results. Morris and Bakr are superb, the drummer even-tempered or explosive, as demanded, and the bassist a consistently potent force. The liners by Robert D. Rusch describe the tracks as "a series of musical adventures, told true without one dishonest note." Fair enough. Still, listeners might demand something a bit more to justify their investment of time and money, and while there are moments that rise with inspired passion, there are others that drift a bit.

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