Most listeners will be familiar with Neal Kirkwood through his small group recordings (if they're familiar with him at all) which translate his compositional skills very effectively. On this CD, in the more intimate solo setting, the pianist proves himself a strong, if at times somewhat conventional, improviser with a romantic flair. Kirkwood makes it all sound so easy; the complexities seem to melt away even when he suddenly switches tempos and key signatures midstream. Stylistically, he falls under Monk, but with a pinch of Keith Jarrett and with more than a touch of classical technique. There is some remarkable playing throughout, although Kirkwood does tend to entirely fill the recording, occasionally lending an air of cocktail atmosphere.
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