One of the more satisfying aspects of reviewing jazz CD's is the opportunity to hear artists who dwell in the arena of independent record labels and the local music scene, but who deserve a much larger audience. Pianist Mike Markaverich
is an artist who definitely belongs in that category. His new CD, Solid
, is the fourth recording that he has independently produced, and it reveals a pianist of extraordinary technique and musical prowess that deserves a place alongside any of the major pianists in jazz today.
Blind from birth, Markaverich grew up a prodigy on the piano, but began to focus on jazz during his college years. During the thirty years since, he has worked steadily in the Boston and Sarasota, Florida areas. He is in demand as a performer, teacher, and arranger/conductor.
This album features a trio format with bassist Bill Pillucere and drummer Tony Martin, both veterans of the south Florida music scene. Martin's drumming is particularly noteworthy, as a drummer who never lets his astounding technique overwhelm the group.
Markaverich's repertoire consists mainly of standards, handled in a traditional and swinging piano style that merges both old and new school sounds. Though he is a powerful player, there is a prominent underlying sense of balance that keeps the quartet fresh through romping Latin ("It Might As Well Be Spring"), wispy ballads ("Never Never Land"), swing ("Take Me Out To The Ball Game"), and hymns ("Where We'll Never Grow Old").
It MI can't much improve on the rave reviews given to Markaverich by such luminary peers as Dave McKenna, but I can readily recommend this phenomenal pianist's work to any fan of the instrument.