Having seen all the major British jazz pianists of the last 40+ years I was convinced after just one gig that for sheer mind boggling technique and harmonic sophistication that John Horler was in a league of his own. Since then I've seen him play countless times and bought many albums featuring him as both leader and accompanist and that conviction has just grown and grown. Seeing him play you're immediately struck by just how uniquely two-handed a player he is and when he solos there's little or no simply playing chords with the left hand. In fact, and this has been remarked on by many of my gig going friends, it's almost a dizzying experience watching him play with the constant blur of his hands crossing over each other in one breathtaking solo after another.
This long overdue solo album contains studio recordings from 1994 and both 2007 and 2008 and features eight jazz standards and four of John Horler's very striking compositions. 'Alone Together' is a tune that john has played many times and it's hard to imagine it played with more melodic and harmonic invention than it is here, as is also the case with both 'Darn that Dream' and 'As Time Goes By'. He also manages to breathe a breath of fresh air into that old warhorse 'My Funny Valentine', a pianistic tour-de-force that has me shaking my head in disbelief every time I hear it. John's admiration for pianist Bill Evans is well known and his merging of 'Some Other Time' with another Evans favourite 'Peace Piece' is not only a stroke of genius it's also very moving. As Stan Tracey states in his foreword to the CD notes, John's four compositions are never predictable and are full of twists and turns, especially 'Dancing Tones' and his homage to Southampton FC, 'Saintly Horns'.
Despite the fourteen year span of the recordings there's no disparity in sound quality and the whole album has a seamless quality to it that makes it sound like it was recorded during one session, aided, of course, by the consistent brilliance of the playing. If you want to hear truly world-class solo jazz piano then look no further than this CD. Believe me, it will continue to surprise and delight the more you listen to it.Read more ›