Sunday, September 20, 2020
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Title: THOLLEM MCDONAS Racing The Sun Chasing The Sun
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
"This album consists of live recordings of the first halves of two solo piano concerts layed side by side, woven in and out of each other", one concert in Italy and one in the US, but the whole recording is clean and so well produced you’ll have an hard time distinguishing different reverberation or anything like that, the sound’s so good and this could be the result of two different studio session. Ages ago I’ve reviewed the solo record of McDonas on Pax recording and in the meanwhile this guy has been sailing the world as if he were the "flying dutch of piano" and you can bet he’s enriched his style so much I’ve been loving this collection of live tracks enough to regret I was not there. McDonas’ fingers move fast on ebony and ivroy but while I’m tented to comment his style as "nervous", I think it’s not exactly true, and maybe that’s just an impression but I see the approach of this american pianist has become mature, that’s why these eleven tracks show he can be sucked into a whirlpool of notes but with an incredible elegance in a split second he’s slowing down to change dierction focalizing on a small sequence of keys. I think Thollem’ style betrays some past infatuation for jazz piano, but also a great number of classical influences like in that melancholic progression of chords at the end of the ninth track. I love piano but I’m also quite aware this’ one of those instruments so inflactioned by many heartless performers it can be deadly boring, but believe me when piano is well played you believe it’s a "single instrument armada" and holy shit... this guy is so talented!. Even if their style is considerably different it reminded me of a solo performance of Martial Solal to which I’ve attended some years ago... sure he was more "jazzy", MacDonas is younger more abstract and less idiomatic in his playing (improvising?) but I remember so well when Solal destructurated and rarefied a weird medley of Sinatra’s arias shocking a good part of the audience and showing jazz sometimes can still be alive instead of a mummy!. Maybe MacDonas won’t have the same luck of Solal and perhaps his syle won’t keep progressing this way, but this’ the second time I’m listening one of his solo recordings and I’m thinking piano is a great intrument if touched by the right fingers.


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