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88 Keys and Counting by G. F. Mlely

If you’ve not yet heard of pianist G. F. Mlely (I had not), and are an aficionado of adventuresome but tuneful solo jazz piano, "88 Keys and Counting" would be a good introduction. He has been touched by the influence of many of the occupants of the pianistic pantheon, yet it is hard to listen to his playing and say, "oh, he got that phrase from so-and-so . . ."

Among the standards Mlely approaches on this set, "Love for Sale" stands out for its full character development. The pianist alternates between a stride and rubato throughout the melody statement, and throws in juicy chordal clusters in various registers. His right hand waxes rhapsodic with sweeping arpeggios, but never loses sight of the melody throughout the duration of the song. Mlely’s elastic but still tonal sense of melody and rhythm is epitomized in this track. Other standard-standouts include "Come Rain or Come Shine" and "Night and Day."

Mlely also shows himself to be a fine composer on the spiky and fiery "Spirit Inside," the reflective "Mistress of the Tree," and "Rio," which is reminiscent of Joe Henderson’s "Recorda-me" in mood and groove.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: G. F. Mlely
  • CD Title: 88 Keys and Counting
  • Genre: Straight-Ahead / Classic
  • Year Released: 2002
  • Record Label: JazCraft
  • Rating: Three Stars
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