Innovative instrumentals with "unplugged" solo piano and
saxophones, including epic pieces with jazz/classical elements,
performed by Adam Levin with Steve Wirts. Produced by Rob Myman.
Engineered & mastered by Jay Mark.
Additional mastering by The SoundLab. Illustration: Annette
Goldberg. Photograph: Rhoda Pinsley Levin. Disc label image:
Squid 7. 45 min. "...a sophisticated and
contemporary writer – hear him!" – Kirk Nurock, Composer/Pianist,
Koch Jazz/Classical Recording Artist; "His piano playing has a
great touch." – Wallace Roney, Trumpeter/Producer, Grammy
Award-winning Jazz Recording Artist
Each time I hear Adam Levin play one of his pieces –
new or old – I reflexively smile and shake my head in amazement at just
how good he is. If I could pin it down to only one thing....but,
of course, I can’t. It’s easiest to start with a laundry list of
the technical stuff: his encyclopedic harmonic vocabulary, his deftness
with the most complex rhythmic and metric patterns, his ambitious but
solid sense of structure, his stunningly beautiful and well-constructed
melodies, and the way he performs it all with an acrobat’s balance of
drama and subtlety. But what’s most impressive to me is the
seemingly effortless manner in which he ties all these elements and more
– across an impressively wide stylistic range – into one organic whole,
bearing his unique and unmistakable stamp on every bar.
Adam’s magnum opus Islands engages in a bit of seriously playful one-upmanship,
daring the listener to keep up with him as he takes us on a
roller-coaster ride through an apparently haphazard collection of themes
that is ultimately revealed to be an intricately balanced construct,
bringing order out of chaos just as a kaleidoscope wrings symmetrical
beauty from broken glass. Not Coming Home, a bright, jazzy
song-without-words, crackles with the peculiar energy of thwarted
expectations. Adam lulls us with his delicate ode to
self-deception, Lying (in my sleep), only to issue a defiantly
swinging wake-up call in the form of an excerpt from Ivory Tower.
In Things Left Unsaid, one of his most sinuous, sensuous melodies
gets a rich, intimate jazz (a la Levin) treatment. And check out
the great bass work! Then there’s the crystalline Mantra.
Initially an attempt at bare-bones minimalism, the embellishments of
this musical mandala take it – and us – from its Reichian roots into the
sublime territory that is Adam’s own.
- Peter Stoller
(Adapted from concert program notes)
For a more
accurate representation of this CD's sound &
as heard over full stereo speakers, listen to its audio
samples with a headset.