Alva Nelson Music Reviews Music Review

This album literally explodes from the off when you press the play button - Synonymous Dichotomy is the first track's title and whatever that means I don't know, but I can tell you that pianist Alva Nelson and his trio won't be taking prisoners with this track. It is a fast paced six minutes of eruptive pyrotechnics by all three musicians that would make Thelonious Monk a very happy man. The album then settles down with a beautifully melodic ballad, Soul Eyes, followed by the more upbeat and trio-orientated Gemini Baby. The album does change direction after that initial hyperactive splurge of energy and becomes a competent and highly listenable album of jazz-pop-soul instrumentals in the manner of Erroll Garner. The album contains eleven tracks, mostly compositions by Alva Nelson with a version of Thelonious Monk's 'Round Midnight and a few other selections from the great American Jazz Song Book. I rather liked Mr Nelson's spirited and downright dirty sounding Sanctified Blues - probably my favourite track of all from this album. The trio consists of Chris White - bass and Cecil Brooks III - drums, with guests Harry Anderson - bass and Larry Washington - percussion on a few of the tracks. On the whole this is a lovely collection of mid-tempo instrumentals, with some fine caressing of the keys and some memorable tunes - once you get past the hyperactivity of that first explosive track you have something sweet and charming, and very easy on the ear.

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