Uri Caine

Solitaire

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Solitaire, the first solo piano album by Uri Caine, is a tour de force. Recorded "with no processing" at Schloss Elmau in Germany, the disc was released in tandem with Bedrock and Rio (about as diverse a trilogy as can be imagined, and one that underscores the scope of Caine's visionary musicianship). The piano on Solitaire sounds fabulous, with the kind of pure, natural echo that truly evokes a concert hall experience. Caine starts out swinging with "Say It in French" and makes profoundly bluesy, boppish statements with "Beartoes" and "Snort." He maneuvers deftly between bright diatonic themes ("Roll On," "Country Life") and bracing modalism ("The Call," "Anaconda") and between rubato contemplation ("As I Am," "Sonia Said," "Inhaling You") and busy, clustery harmonic bursts ("Twelve"). Even "Blackbird," by far the most overplayed song in the Lennon and McCartney catalog, sounds fresh in Caine's hands. So does the Jimmy Van Heusen chestnut "All the Way." Caine has shown that he can think big, combining Mahler and turntables and such. Here, with nothing but 88 keys to work with, he makes music as electrifying as anything in his catalog.

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