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Album Review: Stormy Weather
Matthew Cook
Cover image of the album Stormy Weather by Matthew Cook
Stormy Weather
Matthew Cook
2002 / Arianna
59 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Stormy Weather is a fascinating collection of solo piano arrangements from a dizzying variety of sources - standards to Antonio Carlos Jobim to the Beatles to Henry Mancini. Matthew Cook has been performing in some of the finest hotels, resorts, and restaurants in Northern California for the past twenty years, and truly knows how to play “something for everyone.” Although Cook’s playing is very accomplished, he doesn’t waste a lot of energy playing glissandos up and down the piano or trilling everything to death, as many pianists do to demonstrate their showmanship. Cook’s interpretations allow the melodies to sing through without overdoing the frills - something I really appreciate! I love his take on the standards in this collection - a bluesy title tune that is leisurely and poignant; George and Ira Gershwin’s “Someone to Watch Over Me” is given a breezy treatment with a gentle rhythm and wistful mood; “God Bless the Child” is dark and brooding with an extended improvisation in the middle that is very effective; “You’ve Changed” is played in a bluesy style with a great “walking bass” on left hand. Cook included two tracks by The Beatles: “Here, There, and Everywhere” and “Dear Prudence,” with the latter track being my favorite on the CD. The infectious left hand rhythm and spare melody line are terrific! I also really like Denny Sarokin’s “Sanibel,” a warm and inviting ballad that dances off the piano keyboard. A few of the other titles include “Candle in the Wind,” “Moon River,” “Desperado,” and “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” I’ve really enjoyed this collection, and recommend it to those looking for a fresh take on some old favorites. It is available from www.matthewcook.com, amazon.com, and cdbaby.com.
February 4, 2003
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