Only 17 years of age, acoustic jazz pianist Delano shows a remarkably resilient melodic sensibility on this, his debut recording. A student of Garry Dial, Delano is also fond of McCoy Tyner, Keith Jarrett, Thelonious Monk, Chick Corea, and other modern bop/neo-bop icons. His playing does not blatantly reflect these influences, though; he strives to present something fresh, and is generally successful. Most of the 12 pieces are Delano originals, and feature an ensemble consisting of saxophonists Gary Bartz and Michael Brecker, trumpeter Tim Hagans, bassists Ira Coleman and Jay Anderson, and drummer Lewis Nash. Delano is an impressive pianist. His solo piano selections, "Piano Improvisation #1" and "I Remember Clifford," are hymnlike. There are two trio pieces: "Autumn Leaves" and the breezy "Central Park Waltz." The larger group pieces all have modern mainstream themes. "Elephants in the Sky" and "Experiencing Change" emphasize darker shadings, with the former featuring a modally complex head and the latter finding Bartz and Delano lockstep in mezzo piano unison. A very elastic line featuring Bartz's stirred soprano pulls "Say Uncle," and a version of Coltrane's "Miles Mode" cleverly jumps back and forth between different keys with the help of a truly inspired tenor from Brecker and tried and true Tyner-isms from Delano. The quirky melody of "Gesticulations" bounces around like a superball, while Hagans' muted trumpet and Bartz's soprano push a shuffle swing during "Annica." Brecker and Delano duet on the somber "Reminiscence." It's hard to determine whether Delano is a better performer or writer, but both sides show great promise on this fine debut.
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AllMusic Review by Michael G. Nastos