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Portrait In Red

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Album Review

It took ten years for Michael Jefry Stevens' first solo piano studio session to come out, and when it did it was still the only one he had recorded. Why so long? Granted, Portrait in Red is not his best album — the music of his trio with Joe Fonda and Jeff Siegel is more creative and free. But the 16 tracks recorded on January 12, 1991 are still worth hearing, especially for those who prefer his lighter side. Most of the music was improvised. The two ghosts hovering above the piano that day were those of McCoy Tyner and Claude Debussy. The soft, smoky, late-night, introspective bop of the former permeates the naïveté of the latter (especially his children's pieces). Stevens throws in some atonal developments and bursts of energy in a handful of tracks (like "Rubber Legs," "Frenzy," and the first part of "Reflections on War") but otherwise this is a pretty laid-back album. Don't think Stevens is going soft or taking the easy road; the music is still imaginative (listen to the changes in "Children's Prelude"), but this CD ranks among the most accessible material he has recorded as a leader. The warmth of the Steinway grand piano was nicely recorded, giving the performance an enjoyable intimate feel (too bad the master contains a glitch around the 15th second of track four, but it's nothing serious). ~ François Couture, Rovi


Born: New York, NY

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Pianist/composer Michael Jefry Stevens is a musician at the forefront of both modern mainstream jazz and creative improvised musics. Born March 13, 1951, in New York City, he took early piano studies at five years of age, moved with his family to Florida at age eight, and after many years of practice, took up rock & roll as a teenager playing the Farfisa organ. But he heard modern jazz, specifically Miles Davis and John Coltrane, and it transformed his style. After a short and uninspired stint...
Full bio

Top Albums and Songs by Michael Jefry Stevens

Portrait In Red, Michael Jefry Stevens
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  • 8,99 €
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: 23 October 2001

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