JIM FOX – Black Water

Cold Blue

Bryan Pezzone: piano

A 18-minute piece from 1984 that Fox decided to revisit and record a few years ago, now published as a CD single. Bryan Pezzone plays all the parts: three superjacent tracks, right away eliciting chains of thoughts in regard to the Tchaikovsky-tinged magnitude of the louder sections, a slightly different expression for this composer in contrast with the reposeful work for which he’s renowned. The music, manifestly fascinating and for the most part quite intense, is comparable to heavy traffic in a three-lane highway; all types and sizes of vehicles and engines, diverse speeds, occasional risky behaviors in a resonant chordal mass whose dynamic wallop on the listener changes several times. Heaven may know why I didn’t think of seas, tides, rivers, torrents, currents and fishes, seemingly the mandatory symbolization for something titled like this when idleness rules in the mind of a “specialized” recipient.

Back to Black Water, one must appreciate the dissonant qualities, the unsettling parallelisms, the near-bashing of the keyboard in various instances, the overall sense of continuity in spite of apparent intermissions (in truth, rather spasmodic activities occur under the surface of the quieter moments, also). The lingering sensation, for this writer, is that of a statement of freedom by a never-say-die virtuoso who’s sick and tired of reiterating the trite formulas associated with earlier composers worshiped by rigid-minded conductors and historians. Pezzone stands proud, hitting chords and churning out hypnotically scorching arpeggios with cultivated vehemence; he even manages to avoid remaining soaked by the hypothetical liquefaction of the sensory apparatuses evidently perceived by the bulk of the official press during the playback. Incidentally: minutes after having enjoyed this, I went straight to Thelonious Monk’s Solo Monk (dated 1964). The connection of these two antipodal piano gems spun consecutively yields fabulous results for your late night’s mood. Trust me.

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