Arturo O’Farrill, solo piano – The Noguichi Sessions [TrackList follows] Zoho Music ZM 201205 [7/10/12] ****:
Grammy-winning pianist, composer, arranger and bandleader Arturo O’Farrill has been at the cutting edge of jazz and Latin music for some time now. These solo piano sessions were inspired by the monumental sculptures of the late Japanese/American artist Isamu Noguchi, and recorded at the museum in Long Island City which the sculptor had created especially for his work. There are a dozen tracks, recorded on the excellent Steinway provide for the sessions, and they consist of six on-the-spot improvisations by O’Farrill and six classics—some from the American Songbook. Included are works of Randy Weston, Lecuona, Mingus and even Stephen Foster. The first improvisation was inspired by the large black circle sculpture seen in the cover photo.
O’Farrill has written a sizable paragraph about each of the selections in his liner notes. He has a wide range of interests, including the Occupy Wall Street Movement. He points out that the Great American Songbook should really be called the Great U.S. Songbook, because America encompasses many different nations and peoples and some of the most heralded songs of the Americas are Latin ones.
The juxtaposition of the tracks is most interesting, making those you would think might be inappropriate—such as Foster’s “Oh Susanna,”—fit in successfully. Ending with Charlie Mingus’ tribute to the so-called “father of jazz,” in simple stride form, O’Farrill brings the program to an expressive conclusion.
TrackList: The Sun At Midnight; O’ Susanna; In Whom; Little Niles; The Delusion Of The Greedy; Siboney; Alisonia; Once I Had A Secret Meditation; Mi Vida; Obsesion; Oh Danny Boy; Jelly Roll
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