Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Immaculate solo piano
N. Dorward | Toronto, ON Canada | 02/18/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Dave McKenna is one of the most consistent of pianists--his run of discs for the Concord label is of invariably high quality. Most of them are solo discs, & this is no exception; as usual with McKenna, his fondness for theme-based albums (this one, as the title indicates, includes only tunes with the word "star" in the title) works out for the best, prompting a mixture of classic chestnuts like "Lost in the Stars" & "Stella by Starlight", & little-played tunes like "Count Every Star" and "Swinging on a Star".This is one of McKenna's gentler discs, perhaps a touch too dreamy; his hard-swinging side comes out only occasionally. But it gives the listener a good chance to hear his beautifully warm & thoughtful ballad-playing. McKenna is so unflashy that the casual listener may miss the amazing technical skill on display, in his ability to unfussily shift melody and chording between hands (& digits). His sense of swing is rock-steady, so much so that he is one of the few pianists with whom a drummer or bassist would be a distraction.This isn't perhaps quite McKenna's finest work--I like the near-contemporaneous disc _Shadows and Dream_ a tad better, I think (sure enough, it's a collection of tunes with "shadow" and "dream" in their titles). But it still is more than worthwhile. Concord's Maybeck Recital Hall series sometimes suggests that contemporary jazz solo piano is too full of flash & complexity; McKenna's approach cuts out all the fat: it's about as close to purity as modern jazz gets."