Jazz/Pop

Adam Makowicz. "From My Window." Adam Makowicz, piano: CHOICE CRS 1028 -- Jazz pianist Adam Makowicz is attracting a lot of attention these days. Critics call him "the Polish Art Tatum" because of his astonishing technique, and indeed , if it's technique you're after, this is your album. And if it's Tatum you're after, this may also be your album. Not that Makowicz is a carbon copy of that master of jazz piano, but his style is a lot more than just reminiscent of Tatum's. In a way, Makowicz is like a folk artist. He has taken a body of music from a time gone by and reproduced it for today's audiences. Occasionally he'll throw in a modern chord or two, which sometimes has a jarring effect when it's done out of context -- for instance, in the middle of rollicking stride chorus. And yet when he plays a ballad, the up-to-date chords fit in nicely. It's the continuity that seems lacking at times. This album includes a number of standard tunes, as well as three Makowicz originals, which are the most interesting contributions to this record date. His piece "Remembering Bill Evans" borrows some lush chords from that pianist, and "From My Window" is a delightful, Latinish number, with a graceful feel and Debussy-like harmonies. The classical influence is pleasantly evident in his other orginal tune "Ballad on Key," but that influence is not sosuccessful in, for instance, his rendition of the pop tune "If," which imitates a Mozartian music box and sounds rather jerkey and stiff -- perhaps that's the idea, but it doesn't quite work. In person, Makowicz plays with a lot of humor, and it's too bad that doesn't come across on record. The quality of the pressing is poor, with lots of skips and scratches noticea ble on the first playing.

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