About Richard Carr
Richard Carr's contemporary instrumental piano style is unique and refreshing. He's crafted his style from many performance hours, and has subsequently created a distinguishing discography of exceptional releases. Richard Carr's improvisational composition style is full of whimsical melodic lines and rich harmonies. Much of his work is indicative of classical influences, particularly those of George Gershwin, Claude Debussy, and Sergei Rachmaninoff. Additionally, the spirit of modern influences, such as John Adams, Keith Jarrett, Steve Reich, Philip Glass, and George Winston, all leave a mark on Richard Carr's work. Richard Carr's first two releases, Through the Mind's Eye and Fogland, were quite indicative what was to come with Carr's work. There's a strange sentimentality in these works, and refreshing harmonic vocabulary. These early works are very reminiscent of what the young George Winston was doing, only these works are a little more moody. Richard Carr's follow-up to these two releases was An American Quixote. This record was equally refreshing, but Carr started to change around his music vocabulary a little bit. It also seemed like this was a bit of a transition recording. One that showed remnants of old works, but also began to reveal others. This was a solid effort, but one that showed some distraction at times.
2000 yielded another set of releases, particularly When Soul & Heart Collide and Christmas Fireside. Both of these recordings are reminiscent of the first two Carr recordings with their contemporary instrumental sentimentality, and almost drippy Muzak qualities. Say what you will, though, as this writer's come to enjoy those very same drippy sentimental qualities that plague Muzak, and many of the artists of the early Muzak era including 101 Strings, Living Strings, Ray Conniff, and particularly the excellent work of Jackie Gleason.
The swan song of Richard Carr's catalog must be American Reflection. This recording came out in 2001, and in a lot of ways went back to some of the harmonic experiments of An American Quixote, thus proving that whatever experimentation had gone had finally yielded some interesting, and provocative results. Richard Carr's works is, seemingly, in a state of flux. As an artist, he's constantly striving toward a new tonality, or melodic vocabulary. Over the course of his half-dozen recordings, he's hit the mark numerous times, and has demonstrated that his artistry isn't separate from his self. Carr's work is strong, and he manages to create an emotional vibrancy with each successive release. ~ Matt Borghi