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More to the Ear Than Meets the Eye

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Album Review

On More to the Ear Than Meets the Eye, pianist Bill Anschell provides a nice set of pieces showcasing his technical abilities as well as his ear for composition and arrangement. Two different rhythm sections are used for the recording, but Anschell remains in the front regardless. While many pianists are trying to stay in the background more and more on contemporary recordings, Anschell comes out swinging. The album opens with a rendition of "Night and Day" with almost a Keith Jarrett feel to the piano. As the set progresses, the sound slows down a bit, while Richard Cole and Thomas Marriott take turns on their respective pieces of brass to lay out nice melodies. A handful of tracks ("Emily," "Morning Fog") seem to be aching for a vocalist to come along and add his or her mark, but hold up quite well with the piano as the lead nonetheless. "As the Crow Flies" is an intriguing take on a jazz raga of sorts, based on a Carnatic composition. The end result is something worthy of being a Weather Report album track: carefully laid out, but tones of ascension and a full exploration of the scale along the way. "Alone Together" and "I'll Take Romance" are playful vehicles for Anschell's playing, but the real fun comes toward the end with "Faster than the Speed of Mildew," a quirky composition with a shifting tempo and some nice soloing once again. The album shows off some excellent playing from all parties involved, using a more or less straightforward approach to jazz that suits the groupings well.

More to the Ear Than Meets the Eye, Bill Anschell
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