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.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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