The pianist Tony Tixier may have “been around the block” a few times already yet listening to Life of Sensitive Creatures he seems to retain an attractive innocence in his playing even as he contemplates the complex world of humanity that he has experienced. His music reaches great depths and complexities of human life delving into austerity and indulgence, sorrow and joy, all of which he observes with a keen sense of empathy. Often he is also struck by life’s foibles too. All of this is expressed in the clean lines of songful melodies on a recording he shares with bassist Karl McComas-Reichl and drummer Tommy Crane, both of whom respond superbly and with a nuanced sense of to the pianist’s vision and artistry.
In a thoughtful blurb on the inside of the CD flap Mr Tixier explains his raison d’ê•tre for the music and in two words – “breathe” and “sensitive” – he gives us the clues we need to stay in tune with the pulse of the music. Following him on his diaphanous, floating runs, often dazzling arpeggios and angular dyads and chords we find ourselves with him in a bottomless pit of emotion. But always we are extricated by the pianist with his easy, loping virtuosity that stretches melodic lines into gentle arcs and parabolas which carve the air in the room. It is into several pockets of luscious sound that we often fall, always to be caught in the web of his magical, melodic invention – from “I Remember the Time of Plenty” to “Flow”.
On “Darn That Dream” the moments of silence are so much a part of the music that you can feel the power of these moments. That song is immediately followed by “Blind Jealousy Of A Paranoid” in an onrush of mad energy, breaking, for four minutes or so, the bewitching spell of the song that came just before it. The mesmerism returns with a gorgeously childlike version of “Isn’t She Lovely”, which is infinitely purer that its master-version by Stevie Wonder. Mr Tixier’s version features long, curving inventions sculpted exquisitely by the loping harmonic and rippling rhythmic contributions from Mr McComas-Reichl and Mr Crane. This is a piano trio with a long life and this a disc to die for…
Track list – 1: I Remember the Time of Plenty; 2: Denial of Love; 3: Tight like This; 4: Illusion; 5: Home At Last; 6: Calling Into Question; 7: Darn That Dream; 8: Blind Jealousy Of A Paranoid; 9: Isn’t She Lovely; 10: Causeless Cowards; 11: Flow
Personnel – Tony Tixier: piano; Karl McComas-Reichl: bass; Tommy Crane: drums
Released – 2017
Label – Whirlwind Recordings Ltd (WR 4716)
Runtime – 51:42