Too many of bop's "Young Lions" are content to play the same old worn-out, overdone Tin Pan Alley standards the same old way; recording an album of nothing but original material never even occurs to them. But there isn't a single standard to be found on World, which, in 2000, found young pianist Daniel Kelly sticking to his own compositions. This fairly promising, if imperfect, debut shows Kelly to have an appealing, crystalline sound along the lines of Chick Corea, Keith Jarrett, Ahmad Jamal, and Bill Evans, but unlike those improvisers, he occasionally plays the organ as a second instrument (showing his appreciation of Larry Young when he does). And Kelly also brings plenty of Corea/Jamal/Jarrett influence to the table as a composer. Much of the time, his post-bop pianism tends to be very lyrical and introspective; Kelly is especially gentle on "Mallorca," "World at Rest," and the lovely "Unrequited" (which bears a slight resemblance to John Coltrane's "Naima"). But the Ohio native doesn't always favor restraint; his more extroverted side asserts itself on the exuberant, Caribbean-flavored "Catching That Stride." On rare occasions, Kelly will throw you a curve ball by making unexpected detours into Cecil Taylor-ish chaos. And because he is usually such a clean and melodic player, those rare bursts of chaotic dissonance have quite an impact. World isn't a masterpiece, although it's an interesting and enjoyable debut from an improviser who has obvious potential.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson