On a particularly problematic Christmas Eve, it’s almost six in the morning when the understated variations and touching chordal openings of “George Fox Searches” are spreading through an entirely quiet atmosphere, immediately evoking memories of something lived as a child. The starting point for these improvisations is an ancient religious tune called “How Can I Keep From Singing?”, whose title sounds like a necessity in an era where music has mostly become an article of trade rather than a communion act. The composition is dedicated to a figure that travelled the world, first alone then with a few loyal followers, to spread the germs of what he believed was a true spirituality. This concept may appear pathetic nowadays – but “Blue” Gene Tyranny’s playing is not. Detours might very well be one of his best oeuvres, in fact.
From the Satie-tinged echoes of “13 Detours” – a superb beginning, class and peaceful dejection distributed in the exactly right doses – to the ternary rhythm of “She Wore Red Shoes” – conceived for a choreography by Stefa Zawerucha – we’re given a rewarding blend of austere profundity and compelling harmonic hues. The one-of-a-kind Texan is a specialist in discarding the exasperating traits of virtuosity, sensible insights running across suggestive imageries that can’t avoid striking certain inside spots, instantly reopening the channels of compassion that we thought closed once and for all during years of progressive cynical disconnection. The final “Intuition” – a rarefied monologue “disturbed” by tape-generated emanations – adds a further touch of inimitability; the label’s assurance that Tyranny’s piano is “not encumbered by any new-age shabbiness” could not be more superfluous. This is stuff for connoisseurs. Occasionally kind-hearted, but connoisseurs just the same.