Bryan Pezzone – Piano Pieces, Blu-ray 3D (2012)
Music of MOZART, SCHUBERT, ELGAR & PEZZONE
Program: Bliss Ballad; Salut D’Amour (Elgar); Mozart Club Sandwich; Improvisation (Pezzone); Schubert: Impromptu Op. 90 No. 1/lVariations on “We Shall Overcome” (Pezzone); Berceuse (Pezzone)
Producer, director & engineer: Mark Waldrep
Studio: AIX Records 86064 [7/31/12] (Distr. by Naxos)
Video: 720p 16:9 3D color
Audio: Dolby TrueHD “Stage” perspective 5.1; Dolby TrueHD “Audience” perspective 5.1; DD Stage or Audience perspective; 96K/24-bit stereo PCM mix; BD-ROM audio files incl. 320 kbps MP3 and 48K/24-bit stereo headphones mix
Extras: Explanation of the disc, channel ID tones, photo gallery, liner notes, musician bios, interview with Pezzone
Length: Concert: 65 minutes; Interview: 60 minutes
This is the first Blu-ray 3D album of solo piano music shot specifically for 3D and HD audio, both stereo and surround. Bryan Pezzone is a unique crossover pianist. He has performed with orchestras all over North America, is the pianist on most of the recent Warner Bros. and Disney cartoon soundtracks, was principal pianist for years with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, has recorded works of Mel Powell, John Harbison and John Cage, and is responsible for most of Yamaha’s Disklavier Piano Series. Bryan and AIX’s Mark Waldrep met originally when both were teaching at the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia in 1988, and they have worked together on other occasions.
Pezzone plays here a beautiful nine-foot Steinway concert grand, in a simple setting designed to offer realistic 3D imaging. The recording session was made in Zipper Auditorium in Los Angeles in 2010. Both the 3D video and the audio quality are first rate, with extreme clarity, as with all AIX releases. Pezzone uses the printed music for some of the selections, but not for his improvisations. The program is expressive and varied. The “Mozart Club Sandwich” mixes two movements from Mozart piano sonatas with improvisations by Pezzone. And the improvisation on “We Shall Overcome” reminded me of some of Frederick Rzewski’s variations on similar tunes, though not as avant. I selected the “stage” perspective, which I always do with AIX recordings, though it was not that much different in this case from the “audience” option. The 3D effect was more realistic than I had seen on any of the 3D movies on Blu-ray. The one-hour-long interview with Pezzone is also quite interesting though it may be too lengthy for some; he claims to have started at the piano at age 1½!
If any recording is essential to the genre, this is it.