Benjamim Taubkin

Piano Masters Series, Vol. 1

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Veteran Brazilian pianist was given the run of the Fazioli piano salon for three nights, just left alone to play, and the result is this delicious, introverted solo disc, only the second solo outing of his lengthy career. The closest analog would be Bill Evans, although Taubkin doesn't have quite the same sense of space. But the pieces here, mostly from his own pen, are lovely meditations, as with "Meu Outuno em NY," with its minor, sad feel. He makes a lovely thing from Coltrane's classic "Giant Steps," slowing it down and building up the thoughtfulness. Essentially, the only upbeat performance here is "Proezas de Solon," his take on the Pixinguinha tune that sparkles. Although he's Brazilian and that informs his sense of rhythm throughout the disc, by no means is this a Brazilian album. It's very much a creation of Taubkin, and a sum of all his work and influences. His jazz is very much of the melodic school: you won't hear much of Monk here, for example. But it's an unalloyed joy, like a series of deep, relaxing breaths.

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