Steve Lodder: Tied Up With Strings review – inspiring set from cross-genre piano explorer

(Sospiro)

British pianist Steve Lodder is one of those first-call sidemen for anybody attempting something off the beaten track – he’s a member of the current Bowie-interpreting Dylan Howe band, and was a regular in the late George Russell’s UK orchestras, but he’s a cross-genre player with a devotion to keyboard music of all kinds. This solo album begins with a 14th-century piece from the earliest surviving keyboard-score manuscript, the Robertsbridge codex – which Lodder gently edges from a delicately ringing dance to a discreetly grooving improvisation. On his own Cranborne Chase he displays catchily bluesy turns and double-time bursts that suggest both Keith Jarrett and Abdullah Ibrahim; he plays the second movement of Bach’s Italian Concerto and the 16th-century virginal theme Monsieur’s Almain respectfully straight; and evokes Bill Evans’s conversational exchanges of chord-caresses and lightly swinging melody on Slippers Waltz. The most emotionally atmospheric piece is Lodder’s own spaciously abstract, Messiaen-like reverie Ronchamp; the most dramatic is an overdubbed feature dedicated to Joanna MacGregor. It’s an inspiring set for devotees of the piano, and for broadminded practitioners of it.

Contributor

John Fordham

The GuardianTramp

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