Dan Tepfer is one of the most formidable jazz pianists on the international stage and hailed as such by press on every continent you can keep a piano in tune (Antarctica does not qualify). He has owned the spotlight the world over, from his solo work to full orchestra performances, and his improve skills are awe inspiring. His style is more melodic, he’s not one to display his technical prowess through big blasts of dissonance and drama. This comes to the listeners ear as playful, fun, sexy and just beautiful. There is such a rainbow of musical colors that it takes you away before you even knew you were packed.
He has chronicled his talents on the solo disc Twelve Free Improvisations in Twelve Keys (2009) as well as the trio sessions Before the Storm (2005), Oxygen (2007) and Five Pedals Deep . Here, he brings that melodic lyricism to JS Bach’s Goldberg Variations. To tackle the masters iconic work is a pretty ambitious ideal, but Tepfer is more than equal to the task. This is no popular music take on Bach, so don’t expect A 5th Of Beethoven or Hooked On Bach. This is a masterful pianist, a classically trained pianist and a young man who has been praised wherever he has graced the ears of jazz and classical fans giving us a respectful and affectionate interpretation of the complete "Goldbergs” and interspersed are his improv variations on Bach’s Variations…did that make sense?
For Tepfer, this was no “romp” through the play ground, no playful process for showing off. He disappears into the music and I am told that he even engineered this disk himself to further immerse himself in the pieces and the project. In between Bach’s own variations are Tepfer’s improvisation and though true to the original you can feel the kiss of jazz. Wonderful stuff. My advice to you. Grab a good book, and put this album on and get lost in a marvelous disk.
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