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La Tendresse

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Audio CD, April 3, 2012
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$17.85 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details Only 2 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.


Editorial Reviews

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Review

Joy. But having been told that one word reviews aren't sufficient, how about this: Pianist Spike Wilner's disc La Tendresse is pure joy. Wilner can probably best be described as an old soul occupying a modernist corpus. His foundations in ragtime and stride piano inform the music heard here, but like Thelonious Monk, he uses the tradition as the architecture for the anatomy of a modern player. Even his take on "Crepuscule With Nellie," the classic Monk expression of hesitation and suspension, is delivered as a tender blues. More importantly, he delivers it without the cartoon clichéd dawdling. Wilner's approach is to brighten each piece with the energy of his playing. Like his hero, Willie "The Lion" Smith and other Harlem stride pianists, he makes the difficult seem quite simple. The speed at which the trio navigates "After You're Gone" is just short of tumult. Drummer Dezron Douglas and bassist Joey Saylor chase, and then are chased by, the exuberance of Wilner's piano. He is also quite comfortable carrying the day unaccompanied. As with his previous solo recording Live At Smalls (Smalls Live, 2011), Wilner performs several solo pieces here. The old Carol Burnett sign off tune "I'm So Glad We Had This Time Together" is rationed with the appropriate melancholy, and Harold Arlen's "If I Only Had A Brain" bounces and frolics with a campy stride fitting the dopey scarecrow. The trio performs Irving Berlin's "Always," raising the bandstand much like early Bill Evans would, interlacing a subtle and intellectual swing with a quasi-classical approach. The highlights of this disc might be Scott Joplin's "Solace" and Bernice Petkere's "Lullaby Of The Leaves." Both tracks beg for comparison to master musician Bebo Valdes' playing. With "Solace," Wilner mixes his ragtime approach with Valdes' Cuban-folk take on American jazz. There is much rejoicing to be had or heard here. --Mark Corroto, All About Jazz

Cover art that quickly dispels the tired myth of judging a book by it's cover, Spike Wilner presents an incredibly intimate and somewhat emotionally charged recording that breaks down the classic piano trio in the most organic of forms. There is a special musical happy place this trio works from with one foot stuck in a more traditional past and the other foot moving forward with a melodic sense of purpose. The slightly obscured theme is the more femine riff on love both pro and con from a seemingly more feminist point of review as is given credence by some delightful arrangements and the artful way these tunes are offered up for approval. Wilner opens with the more melancholy "La Tendresse" which is a gorgeous sonic exploration of shifting harmonics and melodic development, all seemingly familiar but with a fresh intensity that is captivating with stellar bassist Dezron Douglas and the rhythmic finesse of drummer Joey Saylor is added to fill in the gaps. Wilner turns in a virtuoso like performance while occasional pushing a more free form but never coming close to loosing accessibility. "If I Only Brain" is a sprightly number where Wilner's arrangement breathes fresh life into an iconic classic. The impact of changing textures, shifting meters and playful dynamics begins to add layers of musical character to this most entertaining of releases. "Crepuscule With Nellie" is a huge roll of the musical dice for Wilner, a pianist attempting a Monk classic is the equivalent of a young guitarist tackling Hendrix early in his career. Wilner's artful reinvention of this Thelonious Monk standard places Wilner in that special category of performer that can artfully handle any classic without disrespecting himself or the original. Douglas and Saylor round out the perfect rhythm section for this slightly blues infused gem. I normally tire of piano trios quickly. How many times can you hear "Body and Soul" before you find yourself in Home Depot looking for a length of rope and rickety stool? Spike Wilner varies his set list. Wilner plays with delicate precision, deep introspection all while keeping a slightly more light hearted swing front and center. Le Tendresse is one of the finest piano trios I have heard in years and is an absolute must for those trio aficionados! A sublime recording! --Brent Black, Critical Jazz


Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 3, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Posi-Tone Records
  • ASIN: B007Q522PI
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #537,016 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Deborah Porter on November 6, 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Spike's piano is faultless and the songs he's chosen for this album are a good mix of old and new, from La Tendress to I'm So Glad We Had This Time Together. The mood is light and perfect for jazz listeners who like a good melody.
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