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David Janeway: Distant Voices

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David Janeway: Distant Voices
David Janeway with Cameron Brown and Billy Hart

David Janeway’s album Distant Voices may dwell in the quietude of a piano trio, but this is no ordinary ‘trio’. It is replete with all virtues that Mr Janeway brings to his pianos,, and moreover, the harmonic and rhythmic genius of the incomparable Cameron Brown and celebrated drummer and percussion colourist Bill Hart. Among them these musicians share unfailing clarity of voice, innate elegance, an unerring sense of proportion, a finely honed mastery of style, melodic finesse and an unobtrusive grasp of harmonic rhythm. Small wonder then, that we are gifted with an exemplary set of a steaming-hot ‘baker’s dozen’ of charts.

Stylistically these charts are very much of their time – astonishingly changes, swinging, and romantic – in keeping of the elegance of the standards that most of this chosen repertoire has come to be. Featuring exquisitely crafted arrangements of beguiling variety and sensuousness in every lovingly-crafted phrase this album is utterly memorable. What makes it especially so is the manner in which pianist, bassist and drummer play their parts in sculpting the long and sustained inventions of such songs as “Blue Serge”, “Waltz for Zweetie” and “Nefertiti”. Mr Janeway brings four originals to this date. Each is a gleaming gem and stands out in the radiance of his eloquent pianism.

Listening to the way in which Mr Brown seductively bends the notes in “Sweet and Lovely” and “Waltz for Zweetie” and how Mr Hart makes his drums sing and cymbals hiss and sizzle in “Moontrane”, or how Mr Janeway breathes life into “Nefertiti” it’s clear that there’s not a single semiquaver that hasn’t been fastidiously considered. This may be Mr Janeway’s date to lead, but the manner in which Mr Brown and Mr Hart intertwine with the pianist’s music, each of the three musicians seem perfectly attuned to the other’s vision and artistry. The word “breathtaking” doesn’t even begin to describe this musical encounter…

Track list – 1: Sweet and Lovely; 2: Minor Contention; 3: Blue Serge; 4: Moontrane; 5: Gardenia; 6: One for Cedar; 7: Brigitte; 8: Waltz for Zweetie; 9: Excursion; 10: All or Nothing at All; 11: In Passing; 12: Nefertiti; 13: Movin’

Personnel – David Janeway: piano; Cameron Brown: contrabass; Billy Hart: drums

Released – 2021
Label – Steeplechase Lookout
Runtime – 1:11:33

Raul da Gama is a poet and essayist. He has published three collections of poetry, He studied at Trinity College of Music, London specialising in theory and piano, and he has a Masters in The Classics. He is an accomplished critic whose profound analysis is reinforced by his deep technical and historical understanding of music and literature.

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