"Oh, my! I heard, for the first time, without even knowing who was playing, this new Angel/EMI artist Awadagin Pratt. Seattle's KING.org had featured this disc during the waning hours of Labor Day holiday. I was relaxed and able to really listen, rather, than in my line of work as a radio program producer, catch a fast segment of a new release.
Aside from the fact that it wasn't the Internet burping, for a change, but a choppy release, Pratt's perfomance of "Pictures" was heavy and ponderous. The "Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks" had the same pianist approach as "Promenade", and the other tableaux. "The Great Gate of Kiev" had the same flavor as "Bydlo" or "Limoges". Pratt filled this ingenius piece with cement-laden pounding, showing no difference between each segment. I am amazed to see such favorable fanfare over his recordings.
When I compare him to Sergei Edelmann, Horowitz, Kissin, and Lorin Hollander (who played this work often in his solo recitals), and others, I am sorry to see such a new talent who has been highly praised by listeners and reviewers alike, release a new "Pictures" with so little attention to his pallette."
spiral_mind | 02/20/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Awadagin Pratt is the greatest African American Classical pianist today. His playing is deadly and big and tender. He roles across the keys with a fiery fury that is passionate and wild. There are 3 CD's I never stop listening to: Awadajin Pratt's, Keith Jarrett's and John McArthur's. The boys can play."
A modern virtuoso
spiral_mind | Pennsylvania | 03/03/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Awadagin Pratt has always seemed (to borrow a phrase) a long way from normal. With his tall-built frame, informal clothes and big dreadlocks, you'd never guess he was a classical pianist just from seeing a picture. And yet, give any of his albums a spin and you'll be amazed at what sheer beauty can come from a single piano in the right hands. He doesn't just have the chops to make the trickiest compositions seem effortless; he gives everything a unique interpretation beyond just playing all the notes the way they're written.You can't really go wrong with anything he's put out, but I have to claim Transformations as my overall favorite because of my personal preference for "Pictures at an Exhibition." One of Pratt's strengths is his sense of timing & dynamics; knowing when to hold a note or a chord just a moment longer, when to slow down or speed up, and when to play soft or loud. I realize that that's an important thing for anyone playing the piano, true, but AP creates a peaceful romantic beauty that I've rarely heard elsewhere. Sometimes it seems to me that he's underplaying more than needed (i.e. using that soft ambient tone when it's not always necessary), but it fits the selections he chooses here more than overplaying would. Just imagine any of the "Promenade"s or the "Great Gate of Kiev" finale being played too fast or loud. They're better off being a little more subdued.Beyond the 37 minutes of that initial piece, the album is expanded with a leisurely Bach fugue (originally for organ, but I say it sounds much better on just the piano) and a Brahms variation of a Handel tune. I haven't heard any other versions of those particular pieces, but here I find them just as fascinating as the rest of the disc. The closing suite in particular gives a light, happy feeling to wind things down to a close.I'll leave off now, lest I further reveal my overwhelming ignorance of most things classical. I can't say anything about how any composer's works should or shouldn't sound. But I know what I like, and I like this very much."
The Passacaglia on this album is incredible, especially on t
Patrick D. Goonan | Pleasanton, CA | 05/03/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I am giving this a recording a rating of four just on the strength of the Passacaglia And Fugue In C Minor, BWV 582 played on the Bosendofer piano. Oh my God... what an incredible tone and moving performance!
The rest of the album is good and I thing that Pratt is a solid performer. He has good interpretive powers and you can get this from listening to samples of his music above. I am looking forward to seeing other albums from this young artist.
One minor criticism is that the Passacaglia had some weak areas toward the end. I think Pratt took a few more liberties than I would have liked. However, overall he did a splendid job adopting this piece to the piano."