- Swing Trades
- Inside You
- Fly Brook
- Unrequited Love
- No Visa
- The Big Bad Wolf Ain't So Bad After All
- Wishing Willie Well
- African Village
- Piano Roll 1
- Peace March
David Lopato (piano)
rec. July 2009, InHouse Studios, NYC
David Lopato is an experienced pianist who has played with Joe Lovano and Leo Smith amongst others but chances to hear him solo on disc are rare. In fact this is only his second such album, and it's a fine survey of his wide-ranging musical sympathies and affiliations.
Nicely recorded in NYC back in July 2009, we have a twelve track album, and a stylistically broad church. The pieces span three decades and show quite how varied are his enthusiasms, and how adeptly he has filtered them through his perceptive sensibility.
The disc opens with Swing Trades, an energetically fluid opener with rolling lines, hints perhaps of Mose Allison at points in its directional accumulation, but otherwise an original sounding number, splendidly performed. Inside You is a rather nice ballad with a Keith Jarrett moment or two, and possibly also showing classical affiliations with Scriabin. The composer notes that, despite the title, the song is not 'pornographic', and Amen to that. Bluegrass is the theme of Fly Brook - warm, pithy, nostalgic, back porch. We move on to the bluesy up-tempo Unrequited Love with its restless search harmonically and thematically; Monkish a bit, and then hinting at Stride the next minute (though Monk could stride as well, of course, after his fashion).
These opening tracks show the variety of material on which Lopato
draws, and the ones that follow cement it. No Visa-titled after
an unfortunate attempted overseas journey-is duly wistful and reflective,
then increasingly agitated and terse and finally disconsolate bordering
on desolate. Reflexology is a boppish sounding tune and is
duly played boppishly, but with Hank Jones in mind perhaps. He strides
through The Big Bad Wolf Ain't So Bad After All and reprises
his penchant for sensitive balladry in Wishing Willie Well, the
wrenching genesis of which is related in Lopato's notes. There are
powerful hints of Dollar Brand/Abdullah Ibrahim in African Village
and the Township vibe is strong, whilst Nancarrow and Cage are
cited as influences on the pulsing and pulsating Piano Roll 1.
So this is an entertainingly pluralist disc, from an imaginative and questing musician.