10 Songs, 50 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

There’s a winning balance of innovation and tradition on this New Orleans pianist’s first recording as a leader. The originals include swinging pieces (“Aria,” “Parade,” and “Passepied”), plus the elegant “Ballade.” Meanwhile, the covers range from tweaks on the expected (a soul-jazzy version of Monk’s “I Mean You”) to the cutely provocative (“You Are Special,” composed by a certain Mister Rogers). Along with a solid backing band, it’s Fortner’s sterling piano technique—full of references to blues and Western classical counterpoint alike—that holds the proceedings together.

EDITORS’ NOTES

There’s a winning balance of innovation and tradition on this New Orleans pianist’s first recording as a leader. The originals include swinging pieces (“Aria,” “Parade,” and “Passepied”), plus the elegant “Ballade.” Meanwhile, the covers range from tweaks on the expected (a soul-jazzy version of Monk’s “I Mean You”) to the cutely provocative (“You Are Special,” composed by a certain Mister Rogers). Along with a solid backing band, it’s Fortner’s sterling piano technique—full of references to blues and Western classical counterpoint alike—that holds the proceedings together.

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