Thursday, May 12, 2016

Brian Fielding: An Appropriate Response, Volume 1

By Ric Bang
Buy CD: An Appropriate Response, Volume 1

Some background is in order:

A Google search on the name “Brian Fielding” yielded numerous results: one for an attorney, another for a business network, and others for a petitioner, a partner in a law firm, a sports executive, a new business company, and still more. And, yes, one for a pianist/composer. Guess what? They’re all the same individual: a living Walter Mitty. 

Fielding was living in Montclair, New Jersey, when drummer Ali Jackson — taking a pleasant walk — happened to pass his house. Jackson heard some tasty jazz piano emanating from within, stopped to listen, then decided to find out who was responsible. He and Fielding chatted, and then Jackson returned later with some musician friends, including tenor saxist Mike Lee and bassist Andy McKee. Just like that, a quartet was formed.

Fielding composed all the charts featured on this release, which also demonstrates his chops as an accomplished jazz pianist. The music is Zen-like — a term used by Jackson — as opposed to straight-ahead jazz: contemplative, light, soft and swinging stuff that’ll make you smile (and quite happy). Some of the charts are balladic; others are more up-tempo. The arrangements provide a lot of space for solos, after a basic theme is established; each musician delivers some wonderful passages.

I wasn’t previously familiar with the musical Mr. Fielding and his friends; this album has changed that. Give this group a try; you’re bound to enjoy the result.

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