FAME Review: Danny Wright - Black & White (25th anniversary edition)
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Danny Wright - Black & White (25th anniversary edition)

Black & White
(25th anniversary edition)

Danny Wright

Available from Danny Wright's online store.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker
(progdawg@hotmail.com)

I was realllllly hesitant to grab this one for review. I mean, I've heard too many David Lanzes, David Arkenstones, and Steven Halperns in my time, and I dig piano but am a Keith Jarrett kinda guy, so 'leery' is the gentlest way I can think to describe my approach to most solo piano music. But the FAME Pick List described this disc as very good, and Dave's displayed solid judgement many times in the past, so, feeling daring that day, I thought "Aw, what the hell!", and, man, 'twas a good thing I did, as Danny Wright, it turns out, is a rather prolific musician with a backlog of 21—that's right: 21—releases, and you can't do that unless you're on to something that's hitting people where they live.

That 'something' is his remarkable sense of inflection, intonation, timing, and warmth. More, he's a Steinway Piano artist, and the rich tones he coaxes from the deservedly famed instrument are tantalizing, captured to the Nth degree, to the last trace of every transient overtone, by Randy Kling, the engineer. If you've ever doubted that the true test of the piano is in the hands playing it rather than the instrument itself, then you need to hear this CD. It takes someone in love with that mammoth axe to really flesh out the instrument's rough percussive edges and too often unbending tonicities. Wright not only accomplishes that but adds in a jaw-droppingingly subtle way with timing, the sort of thing that would make the average stodgy classicalist gasp and faint with indignation but would find cats like Glenn Gould beaming.

I mean, Wright can be extremely subtle, almost invisibly evocative, because while you're ensorcelled by his cagy juggling of emphatics and declensions, he's simultaneously inviting one and all to take a step further into the instrument's possibilities even in time-worn gems everyone thought they'd heard the very last word on. His Moonlight Sonata is delicious, the take on If I Loved You daring within its shifted traditional framework, Send in the Clowns crystalline and touching with shafts of sunlight and brocade, and his turn-around on Pachelbel's Canon in D dances like a fawn in a spring meadow. Black & White begins to celebrate Wright's 25 years as a recording pianist, and the promo lit tells us he has thousands of listeners, but, really, he should have millions.

Track List:

  • Moonlight Sonata (Ludwig van Beethoven)
  • Gershwin Medley:
    • The Man I Love
    • Someone to watch Over Me
    • Rhapsody in Blue (Gershwin / Gershwin)
  • If I Loved You (Rogers & Hammerstein)
  • Memory (Andrew Lloyd Weber)
  • Send in the Clowns (Stephen Sondheim)
  • Don't Cry for Me, Argentina (Andrew Lloyd Weber)
  • Theme from 'Terms of Endearment' (Michael Gore)
  • Canon in D (Johann Pachelbel)
  • Breezes (Danny Wright)
  • Barbra Streisand Medley:
    • The Way We Were (Marvin Hamlisch)
    • Evergreen (Barbara Streisand)
    • People (Merrill / Styne)
  • I Dreamed a Dream (Claude-Michel Schoenberg)

Edited by: David N. Pyles
(dnpyles@acousticmusic.com)

Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
 
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