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Acoustic Piano International

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Album Review

For a relative unknown on the national or international scene, California-based, veteran jazz pianist Mark Massey is awfully good. His friendly, lyrical, melodic piano has a sound unto itself: bop and post-bop influenced, contemporarily informed, and languishing solidly in the modern mainstream. The music was written by the leader, with many pieces played only with his core trio of bassist Eric Stiller and drummer Aldo Bentivegna. Several famous guests make cameo appearances. Of the straight trio tracks, two are waltzes — the breezy "Flowers for Dorothy" and the more powerful "Hold Fast to the Light," both showing a witty Bill Evans harmonicism. A Bud Powell-type original ("Moscow Medical Center") shows Massey has bop covered, and ventures more into a Powell cum Chick Corea sprightliness during a quick and bright "Seraphs of Terpsichore." "Limejuicer Blues" (based on "Limehouse Blues"?) has a jumpy melody and a good solid swing. In larger, more interactive settings, Massey proves he has ideas that work well. A pleasant enough "Island of the Sun" features Alex Acuna's Latin percussion underpinnings and Bob Mintzer's warm soprano sax over Massey's modal left hand chords. More modalities in a bluesy vein set off Plas Johnson's tenor sax lines, unison and otherwise, during "Professor M & M's Jive Detector." Acuna's world-class, Brazilian-styled syncopations and the airy, bouncy flute of Justo Almario make up the centerfold on the nonstandard, complex changes and multiple melodies of "Que Garota Linda." Massey really likes thematic modal ostinato juxtaposed against free-flowing tonal statements, which is well heard on "Wake Up to the Laughter" (again with Acuna's crack fills and the wafting flugelhorn of Ron Stout). No new ground is broken here, but Acoustic Piano International does showcase Massey's talent quite nicely. Most jazz listeners will find this a worthwhile purchase, and a keeper. ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi

Customer Reviews


Accessible to both a practiced jazz ear as well as the novice, API is a necessary buy for any jazz afcianado. Massey is clearly an artist at the top of his game and moves through a range of styles and tempos effortlessly. With a solid assembly of supporting musicians Massey has crafted a balanced and lively album that grows more enjoyable with every listen. Do yourself a favor and add this gem to your music library.

Acoustic Piano International, Mark Massey
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  • $8.91
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: 1999

Customer Ratings

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