When I first heard the pianist Michael Kanan play, I was astonished by his quiet lyricism, his gentle wit, his ability to construct something orchestral and memorable out of the simplest materials. Like his heroes Jimmy Rowles and Hank Jones, he is a poetic player. That doesn’t mean, in Michael’s case, that prettiness outweighs substance. His playing has a stealthy power, an impressive integrity. But it does mean that he is one of the questers in search of beauty, believing that beauty can transform the world, making its sharp edges smooth, its harsh contours welcoming.
Michael and very eminent friends will be appearing at Carnegie Hall on Wednesday, March 30 (8-10 PM). The friends are singer Jane Monheit, guitarist Greg Ruggiero, string bassist Neal Miner. For those who like to have the route mapped out before they get in the car, the format of the concert will be solo piano for several songs, then a duo set with Jane, intermission, a trio set with Neal and Greg, and at the end Jane will join the trio.
And the concert is another in a noble tradition, as Michael explained to me, “My teacher of 16 years, Sophia Rosoff, began the Abby Whiteside Foundation as a means of keeping alive the work of her teacher Abby Whiteside. Every year the foundation presents four concerts of pianists who have worked with Ms. Rosoff. This year’s series features two classical pianists and two jazz pianists (myself and Jacob Sacks). All four of us have studied extensively with Sophia and have taken her work in completely different directions. Past performers in the Whiteside Piano Series include Barry Harris, Fred Hersch, Ethan Iverson, and Pete Malinverni.”
Here’s some captivating musical evidence: Michael, Greg, and Neal, performing Michael’s THE PEARL (recorded at Mezzrow on March 23, 2015):
and Ellington’s THE MOOCHE:
Again, the necessary details. Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, 57th Street at 7th Avenue. Wednesday, March 30, 8-10 PM. Tickets: $35 ($15 for students / seniors) — on sale now at Carnegie Hall box office, (212) 247-7800. More information at www.abbywhiteside.org and www.carnegiehall.org.
I will be there, but obviously without a camera: so I’d encourage those who love subtle music to make a pilgrimage to Weill Recital Hall for that evening.
May your happiness increase!