Album review

Theo Walentiny – ‘Looking Glass’

Theo Walentiny – Looking Glass  

(Available from Bandcamp . Album review by Tony Dudley-Evans)

The pandemic has led, perhaps unsurprisingly, to a significant increase in the number of solo piano albums.  A month or so ago I reviewed an excellent solo album by Jason Moran on my website, and just a few days ago I reviewed on LJN an album by the Norwegian pianist Kjetil Mulelid (links below).

Theo Walentiny is a young graduate from the New School in New York.  He acknowledges a strong influence from Keith Jarrett, especially the Köln Concert.  He also mentions Paul Bley and his Open to Love album, and Mingus’ solo piano album, Mingus Plays Piano.The album has 7 tracks, six a little short of 10 minutes in length and one just over 10 minutes. 

The first two tracks,  Fanfare for the Looking Glass and The Everlasting Rain Moves set the mood for the album; both have a very strong narrative with the music developing through a series of arcs.  One certainly hears the influence of Keith Jarrett, but there is also something of the playing of Cecil Taylor.  In a note about the music, Walentiny talks of how he likes when he plays to enter ‘a subconscious flow state’, and there is undoubtedly a flow and a coherence about the music. There is also a lot of variety; Behind Tall Grass, for example,is a slower, more contemplative track.

Walentiny has an interest in scoring for films, and there are two tracks with the titles Film I and Film II.  The music does not come across as sounding like a film score, but in his notes Walentiny talks of how he envisages Film 1 being about a memory that leads a couple to reflect on their relationship.  Similarly, Grey They Billow reflects black and white images of pieces of fabric blown in the wind.  These images come across strongly in the gentle, minimalist second half of the piece.

This is a fine album and Walentiny is a young artist whom I look forward to hearing more of.

LINKS: Tony Dudley-Evans’ review of Jason Moran

Review of Kjetil Mulelid – Piano

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