You have to search through the modern jungle of independent recording artists to find the quietly hidden gems that designate the markers on the modern path of jazz improvisation. In this era of jazz where many are worshipping at the altar of retro, there are a few who continue to take the music in new directions and aren’t afraid to be different, innovative, and to stand apart. Into that realm jumps Eric Muhler and he not only isn’t afraid, he’s brandishing his harmonic, rhythmic and compositional variances from the norm like a finely honed sword. That sword has been sharpened with remarkable technique. Eric carries the listener down new pathways through his harmonic soundscape supported by his remarkable pianism. He whispers, shouts, builds, and flies on wings built on the traditions but reshaped with his totally unique sense of form, harmony and melody. If you want to hear swing and bop done just like the masters who innovated it forty years ago, there are thousands of qualified craftsmen and women out there doing it today. If you want to take an excursion down a very exciting and somewhat mysterious road less traveled, laden with emotion, elation, and buoyed on the springs of improvisation, then listen to Eric Muhler. His music is a product of the jazz tradition but he’s boldly personalized his art and there is much to learn from the new territory he’s explored.
by Mel Pumedon
Notes on the Fazioli Grand Piano and Piedmont Piano Performing Space
It is becoming safe to say that an intimate artist’s concert at Piedmont Piano Company’s San Francisco Performance Space is the best place in the entire Bay Area to hear any style of piano music. This is, in large part, because of the incredible Fazioli F308 10’ 2” concert grand piano. Put simply, there is nothing like it in the world.
However, it is the excellent acoustics of the space combined with the extremely personal salon atmosphere, sitting among a small sea of incredible pianos in their own right, which creates the fabulous intimacy of the Piedmont Piano Company space. One hundred people fill the front of the showroom on folding chairs to hear one of the world’s greatest pianos played by pianists who give their all to find every nook and cranny of what the piano can express. Whether it is jazz, classical, or show tunes, the artist is going to have the ultimate tool of musical self-expression at their fingertips. There are no commercial dictates to control the artist’s message. The force of their personal artistic vision dictates their program, content and self-expression and the results are untrammeled, unparalleled, and quite stunning. The Fazioli is a dream piano. It gives the artist an unequalled ability to find every nuance available in the musical lexicon and with the advent of its patented fourth pedal, some new pianistic touches never available before. To top it off, the Fazioli is a beautiful work of kinetic art just to look at! Every detail of its construction expresses the fantastic craftsmanship, materials, and sense of ultimate perfection with which it was designed and executed. There is a reason why they cost, (and are worth) $200,000!
By Wendy Nicholson