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Porter, Lewis: Beauty & Mystery

“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious.” (Albert Einstein, 1931)

Lewis Porter is a jazz pianist with four discs as a band leader to his credit including his latest release Beauty & Mystery. In the liner notes Porter speaks of the importance of mystery and beauty in music, hence the above quote. Another obvious influence is John Coltrane with three tracks alluding to his genius in one form or another. This is an excellent effort so let’s get right to it.

The lovely solo piano piece “Prologue” begins the disc in a clear and wonderful way. The playing here is absolutely gorgeous. Porter’s command of melody and harmony is readily apparent. A skillful tunesmith to the say the least. On “Birthplace”, the longest track on the disc, all band members get their turn to lead. The saxophone work is a tad unorthodox and abstract with a repeating motif I found particularly absorbing although it took some time to gel in my head as much of this song is not so easy to define. The rhythm section of Terri Lyne Carrington and John Patitucci moves things along nicely while inflecting their own bit of abstract play. The piano continues to move in mysterious ways, proving this is anything but a predictable track. The popular standard “Bye Bye Blackbird”, originally written in 1926 by Ray Henderson and Mort Dixon, showcases a great rhythmic groove and Porter’s spry and imaginative piano work. The mood is as uplifting as the album gets. The gorgeous Curtis Mayfield freedom anthem “People Get Ready” is next, a fine rendition keeping the prettiness of the original intact. The piano and bass particularly stand out. “Blues For Trane And McCoy”, the inspiration for the piece made clear in its title, features more dazzling saxophone from Fuller and Porter’s playful piano excursions over top of Carrington’s snappy drum work and Patitucci’s steady groove.

Great melodies, musicianship and fantastic ensemble play ensure that Beauty & Mystery will top many best of jazz lists come the end of the year. Highly recommended.

Track Listing:
1. Prologue (3:28)
2. Birthplace (10:21)
3. Bye Bye Blackbird (8:18)
4. People Get Ready (7:26)
5. Blues For Trane And McCoy (9:46)
6. 1919 (7:43)
7. Chasing Lines (7:40)
8. Dazzling Raga (4:07)
9. From Giovanni To Jimmy (5:53)
10. Day Is Done (5:48)

Added: June 20th 2018
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Artist's Official Site
Hits: 639
Language: english

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