Saturday, June 26, 2010

Music Notes – Liz Story

Now and then, little will do to calm me but good, emotive piano playing. Typically this means Mr. Jarrett, particularly the improvised concerts. Sometimes that means listening to George Winston (and some of the knock offs of his style). But a pianist I seem to return to over and over is Liz Story.
Story does not seem, to my admittedly untrained ear, to be as creative as Jarrett (but who is, really?), and I am pretty sure she is not as popular as Mr. Winston. But I think she is better than he is. One can hear the influence of the great Bill Evans here, especially in the subtle, but never sleepy touch that lets all empty space become part of the music, stroking the melodies with just enough color to make them stand out, but not so much as to scream for attention.
Ms. Story does play some beautiful original compositions. “Wedding Rain” and “Pacheco Pass” are favorites for many listeners (including myself). Her more introspective pieces remind me of another musician that doesn’t get enough attention: Richard Souther. But I am intrigued by her readings of such classic pieces as “How Insensitive,” “All the Things You Are,” and “My One and Only Love.” I consider anyone tries Evans’ “Peace Piece” to be quite bold, but I have to say I really like her rendition.
Liz Story’s playing is soft in a good sense. It is relaxing and beautiful, but don’t let that fool you. While her work doesn’t dive and dip like Keith Jarrett’s, and it might not be as poetically rounded as Bill Evans, it is very enjoyable. Often just what I need.

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