Favorite Icon, Full size
Album Review: Still
Jesse Brown
Cover image of the album Still by Jesse Brown
Jesse Brown
2017 / Jesse Brown
14 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Still is Canadian pianist/composer Jesse Brown’s fourth solo piano release and his second EP this year. As he did on his previous album, Trilogy, Brown placed the mic very close to the piano to create the feeling of sitting next to him as he plays. That technique also adds a very distinctive and intimate character to the music. For this recording, Brown played a small upright piano and kept the practice (soft) pedal engaged, producing some unexpected sounds from the piano. He recorded in a small room with hardwood flooring, which gives the music a very “live” and resonant sound. I thought he might have added some synth strings in places, but those sounds must be the vibration of the piano strings. Fascinating!

Still begins with “Adrift,” a short piece originally intended to be a warm up exercise before recording the other pieces, but became a gospel-tinged nugget in its own right. I love “Floating,” a lively, mysterious piece that would be excellent in a film score. The rolling chords on the left hand set an energetic tone of consistency while the right hand is much freer and more expressive - a great piece that I hope finds its way into sheet music! “Dream” is very light and delicate, played mostly in the upper half of the piano keyboard. “Stars” is a sweet and gentle waltz that suggests the innocence of a child as well as the magical beauty of a clear night sky. I really like this one, too! “Looking Back” has a bluesy, gospel flavor that works really well on this piano. There is a strong enough melody to add lyrics in a country/rock style, but it’s more fun to imagine what those words might be!

Jesse Brown is rapidly becoming one of my favorite pianist/composers, so be sure to check out Still and his other recordings. They are available from www.JesseBrown.net, Amazon, iTunes and CD Baby. Highly recommended!
December 19, 2017
This review has been tagged as:
Kathy's Picks