Pianist Kerry Politzer moves from the samba settings of her debut to the classic piano...
Peter Marsh 2002-11-20
Kerry Politzer's Brazilian tinged debut CD Yearning drew favourable comparisons with fellow pianist Eliane Elias. While that record paired her up with a guitarist and soprano saxophonist as well as rhythm section, Watercolor finds her in the classic piano trio format and proves that Politzer, like Elias, has quite a few strings to her bow (or even her piano).
A reading of Gershwin's "A Foggy Day' aside, these are all Politzer originals and showcase both a strong compositional talent and considerable improvisational flair. None of the pieces exceed 5 and a half minutes, pointing to Politzer's taste for economy.
This extends to her improvising, which is finely and sensitively controlled throughout and ranges from a limpid impressionism worthy of Keith Jarrett or Brad Mehldau (as on the gorgeous "Silent Morning" to playful, angular left hand figures reminiscent of Thelonius Monk ("Watercolor") orvivid, Bud Powell-esque hyperspeed ripples. She swings hard too, as on the Monkish "Whim", where she engages in some impressively fiery exchanges with drummer Scott McLemore. Politzer never seems stuck for ideas either; each solo is carefully constructed, a fine balance of head and heart.
Mclemore and bassist Dan Fabricatore provide sensitive, controlled propulsion, finely in tune with Politzer's writing and responsive to her soloing. Though the bassist is a bit lost in the mix at times, his rapport with the pianist is reminiscent of Eddie Gomez's work with Bill Evans, and he gets a couple of nice solos in too, particularly on "Waiting".
The piano trio seems to be undergoing a bit of a resurgence at the moment, with the likes of Brad Mehldau and Esbjorn Svennson breathing new life into a format that had seemed to reach its apotheosis with Jarrett's Standards Trio. Politzer's undoubted ability as a writer and player should hopefully put her in the same bracket before long. Not an album that will change your life perhaps, but one any serious piano afficionado would do well to check out.