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I've Traveled So Far by Tim Lyddon

So, how far as Tim Lyddon traveled?

Tim Lyddon's travels started in earnest when his family moved to California and he started listening to the likes of Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum and Bud Powell. After playing in Las Vegas for two years, Lyddon returned to L.A., where he worked with local musicians, as well as with the studios. Piano scholarship being a constant in his life, Lyddon moved to New York to study at the Manhattan School Of Music, and that's where he has stayed to perform in various configurations involving numerous bassists and drummers.

Musically, though, Lyddon was traveled to maturity--which means that he has developed a precise and concise style that services the tunes he delivers. While he mentions Bill Evans and Keith Jarrett as primary influences, it seems that two-handed, laconic pianists like Hank Jones or Tommy Flanagan infuse Lyddon's interpretations. Rather than spreading out into elaboration on a single motive for a good part of an hour, or even more, Lyddon knows where he wants his song to travel before he even starts the journey.

For example, his composition, "Beautiful Feeling," starts in classic ballad form, the lyrical playing of the melody supported lightly by Latzky's brushwork and Hubbard's prodding bass lines. But soon Lyddon allows Hubbard to emerge, ever so slightly, into the foreground, his actual outlining of the tune assuming a fuller portrait with bass filling-in. With a piano solo consisting predominantly of tripleted phrasing, akin to something Flanagan would play, Lyddon eventually resolves the tune with a dramatic solo denouement, capping off a gem of a piece.

Similarly, Lyddon intends for Hubbard to contribute to the development of the jaunty "Just Passin' By" as well, the basswork being a highlight of the track. "I've Traveled So Far," appropriately, is an animated tune formed over Lyddon's anticipating-the-beat propulsion as Latzky's eighth-note locomotion adds force and direction to the piece.

Finally, Lyddon's unaccompanied work on "I Thought About You" seems a tribute to one of his teachers, Jaki Byard, as it refers not only to a number of approaches and tempos, but also to a kaleidoscopic mixture of styles, including stride and free improvisation.

Never ostentatious, Lyddon has emerged on the scene as a pianist fully developed who hadn't received his fair share of recognition. I've Traveled So Far may help to change that.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Tim Lyddon
  • CD Title: I've Traveled So Far
  • Genre: Straight-Ahead / Classic
  • Year Released: 1999
  • Record Label: Essence
  • Rating: Three Stars
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