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Album Review: Summertime
Matthew Cook
Cover image of the album Summertime by Matthew Cook
Matthew Cook
2002 / Arianna Recordings
55 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Summertime is a remastered collection of solo piano arrangements of pop, classical, and jazz tunes originally recorded live in 1994 and 1997, and previously released on three different cassettes. A performing musician in Northern California for more than twenty years, Matthew Cook effortlessly blends jazz, classical, new age, and pop styles, creating his own unique voice. All of his recordings have a very eclectic selection of music, and Summertime continues the trend with pieces as diverse as “Canon in D,” Gershwin’s “Summertime,” Elton John’s “Your Song,” and “Storm Warning” which was originally recorded by Bonnie Raitt. With some artists, a combination like this would be dizzying, but Cook handles it with style and aplomb. I love his pitch-black version of “Summertime” that segues into a spirited “Satin Doll” (Duke Ellington); it’s worth the price of the CD for these two songs alone! But wait, there’s more! Also included is a nine-minute version of David Crosby and Stephen Stills’ “Wooden Ships,” a passionate improvisation that really sings. “Storm Warning” is much more subdued, with lots of open space between the notes, and a melancholy mood. The other titles included are “No Frontiers, “ “The Dance,” and “Wonderful Tonight,” all played with passion and style. Most of the pieces include improvised sections, making the music even more personal and deeply felt. Great stuff! Summertime is available from www.matthewcook.com, amazon.com, and cdbaby.com.
January 16, 2004
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