My History of JazzACT ****

Finnish pianist Iiro Rantala is the sort of musician who snorts derisively in the face of genre distinctions, and the title of this lively musical autobiography should not necessarily be taken as evidence of allegiance to any particular style of music. Baroque and bebop, stride piano and Scandinavian cool are all part of the story here, as Rantala and a group (which includes drummer Morten Lund, bassist Lars Danielsson and rising Polish violinist Adam Baldych) veer from Bach to Gershwin to Monk, framed by a series of what the pianist calls “Goldberg improvisations”. Through it all, Rantala wears his prodigious technique lightly, recalling pianists like Art Tatum and Erroll Garner, not so much in his eclectic style but in the sheer excitement of hearing a pair of hands dancing on the keyboard. iirorantala.fi

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