One of the most challenging formats for a jazz pianist is crafting an entire CD consisting of piano solos. Pete Malinverni's first such outing stands out because of his immense creativity, which incorporates his classical background as much as his jazz technique. He begins with an initial theme, followed by 13 wide-ranging variations (interspersed throughout the CD), in addition to an equally compelling mix of standards, jazz compositions, originals, and an unlikely rock song. His introspective "Theme: Da Solo" is a brief, classical-flavored introduction that is only a minute long. "Erroll" implies the choppy, upbeat style of the late Erroll Garner, while the haunting "Minor" and the moody "Bittersweet" are among the most memorable variations. Malinverni chose three standards about losing love. Two very different approaches to "It Was Just One of Those Things" came out so well that both merited inclusion. His arrangement of "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face" effectively conveys the lyrics even though they aren't heard. The very deliberate take of "These Foolish Things" is equally effective. The gospel song "Standin' in the Need of Prayer" and rocker Sly Stone's "Everybody Is a Star" might seem like unusual choices for a jazz CD, though both of them fit the pianist's concept. His romp through Ornette Coleman's "Blues Connotation" adds some spice with its wild bassline. Malinverni's upbeat "In the Garden of the Eternal Optimist" proves to be an infectious melody that sticks in one's mind. Beautifully recorded on a first-rate piano, these sessions by Pete Malinverni need to be heard in a setting where full attention can be paid to their nuances, preferably late at night without any added distractions.
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AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden