Gramercy Park

COMPOSERS: Chopin,Herbie Hancock,Michiel Borstlap
LABELS: Emarcy
PERFORMER: Michiel Borstlap (p), Essiet Essiet (b), Jeff Watts (d), Ronald Molendijik (turntables), Michel Van Sachie (b)
CATALOGUE NO: 014 326-2

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The Dutch pianist Michiel Borstlap seems destined to reach the top of his profession. The son of an avant-garde composer and an accomplished classical pianist, he was exposed to jazz from an early age, both live and on record, taking up the piano himself at the age of five.

In 1992 he was named best soloist at the Europ Jazz Contest and in 1996 he won the Thelonious Monk Composers Award. Although he has recorded eight albums, Gramercy Park is his third for a major label and presents a portrait of the artist-as-a-young-man (he is 34) with a three-CD set that is, in effect, a searching examination of the breadth of his talent.

The first CD is devoted to solo recitals and includes a bewildering version of Chopin’s Scherzo No. 1, along with ‘Body and Soul’ and Herbie Hancock’s ‘Dolphin Dance’. The second CD is devoted to his work with a piano trio, including three tracks with the take-no-prisoners drumming of Jeff ‘Tain’ Watts and bassist Essiet.

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It is in these robust surroundings that Borstlap appears ready for a bigger stage. The third CD sees him experimenting with turntables and ‘beats’, without once upsetting his lyrical poise and invention. A major talent indeed. Stuart Nicholson