We critics aren’t supposed to admit this, but sometimes some of us get overwhelmed by the amount of music we have to hear - some stuff, alas, can fall through the cracks. This disc was one such in my pile, but here where I make it right. Birds of Baghdad by Charles Eubanks (of the musical Eubanks family) is a most super-fine solo piano recording, and a source of comfort in the latter half of a stormy year. Mr. CE takes some sturdy standards (Miles’ "Dig," Irving B’s "How Deep Is the Ocean," Monk’s "Trinkle Tinkle") and some melodically endearing originals and takes them to town in style upon his 88 keys. With the topical title, one might understandably expect lots of tension and anger herein - but on BoB the emotional tones are more pensive concern, quiet anguish and guarded optimism. There is tension way beneath the surface, similar to that 50s Cool School, where beneath the West Coast sunshine there was an awareness of the Cold War and Atomic Stockpiles and how newly fragile the world had become. Not that the hard-bop oriented CE sounds like Brubeck, but he does have Brubeck’s flair for melody, as well as George Shearing’s rhapsodic qualities and John Hicks’ brisk, full-bodied, vigorous post-bop crackle. Best of all, Eubanks settles not for merely pretty when he can play beautiful.... and it’s got a fine recorded sound, too. Solo piano fans, whether your tastes run to Hank Jones or Myra Melford, this is a MUST.