Romantic Rhapsody

Richie Beirach

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Romantic Rhapsody Review

by Ken Dryden

Even after numerous recordings as a leader over his long career, pianist Richie Beirach remains deserving of wider recognition. These 2000 studio sessions with bassist George Mraz and Jack DeJohnette, recorded for the Japanese Venus label, represent some of his best work, in which both his classical training and the influence of Bill Evans are readily apparent, particularly in his dreamy interpretation of "Blue in Green." Beirach finds fresh approaches to several standards, adding a gorgeous, pastoral introduction to an extended workout of "Old Folks," and bringing out the lyricism of the forgotten chestnut "Young and Foolish." The pianist's improvisation upon Chopin's "Prelude No. 20 in C Minor" springs forth with a wealth of ideas. Beirach's two originals are also stunning, including the dramatic, unpredictable "Hudba" and "The Last Rhapsody."

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