Heart of the Piano

Heart of the Piano

Pianist Geoffrey Keezer was a member of Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers while he was still a teenager and has since gone on to work with Art Farmer, Ray Brown, and many other jazz figures. But Keezer has also played with Hawaiian slack-key guitarist Keola Beamer, explored Afro-Peruvian folk music, and recorded with Okinawan singer and sanshin player Yasukatsu Oshima. So the mix of songs on Keezer’s 2013 solo piano album, Heart of the Piano, shouldn't come as a surprise. The opener is a cover of “Limelight,” a 1981 hit for the Canadian hard-rock trio Rush; Keezer manages to honor the melody as he expands on the song’s harmonies. The traditional “My Love Is Like a Red Red Rose” is dedicated to Keezer’s wife, and the pianist turns in a rhapsodic performance. Peter Gabriel’s “Come Talk to Me” is driven by strong left-hand patterns, while a version of Alanis Morissette’s “Still” rustles with mysterious Eastern-inflected lines. Keezer nods to two other pianists who played with Blakey: he performs a bracing version of Donald Brown’s “New York” and brings sensitivity to James Williams’ “Take Time for Love.”

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