Jack DeJohnette, piano – Return – Newvelle – vinyl

by | May 27, 2016 | SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews

Jack DeJohnette opens his heart and soul…

Jack DeJohnette – Return – Newvelle Records NV002LP – vinyl ****:

(Jack DeJohnette – solo piano)

As the second release in the Newvelle Records bi-monthly subscription series, the label is issuing the first solo piano recording from drummer Jack DeJohnette. This is not a vanity release, as Jack had extensive piano training prior to concentrating on his illustrious career as an iconic jazz drummer.

Newvelle’s mission is to present an artist’s vision in high end packaging, both providing state of the art sonic reproduction as well as a gate fold presentation with archival photography. Their integrity motivated DeJohnette to record both new tracks as well as piano interpretations of some of his favorite compositions. Recorded on a magnificent nine foot Fazioli grand piano, the ten recorded tunes are on gorgeous clear 180 gm vinyl, make an audiophile listening pleasure. [Lampblack has long been known to reduce vinyl surface noise, and that is why it is used in most pressings…Ed.]

The crystalline acoustics feature crisp pedal sustain, and the high register notes are almost piercing in their clarity. This is contemplative music, highly percussive, rhythmic, with deeply felt emotion. Jack expresses his musical talents with vibrant colors and sonorous tone.

“Ode to Satie” elicits an air of serenity that permeates throughout the album. “Silver Hollow” from the 1978 album, New Directions, honors the upstate New York area where he lives. It brings to mind free flowing water dancing over rocks in a stream. The repeating theme of “Lydia” was written for his wife, and first recorded in 1977 on New Rags. “The Dervish Trance” was inspired by the frenzy of Sufi devotees.

“Song for World Forgiveness” is a meditative ode for humanity. “Ponte De Areia,” written by Milton Nascimento, with its repetitive melody, like a child’s lullaby hymn, is calming and serene.

At times DeJohnette brings to mind Keith Jarrett, a long time recording mate. In an era in which we deeply crave beauty in our lives, this album provides a respite from maddening influences. Jack wanted to make a record that was “a return to something basic and universal and beautiful.” That he has done…

Side A: Ode to Satie, Ebony, Silver Hollow, Lydia, Blue
Side B: The Dervish Trance, Indigo Dreamscapes,
Song for World Forgiveness, Exotic Isles, Ponte De Areia

—Jeff Krow

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