Balinese piano player pays a visit to his heroes’ haunt to get inspired and reports back with a flair.
Black-and-white: that’s how it goes for this Indonesian artist whose step on the world’s most famous crosswalk had as much spring in it as his runs across the keys did when Erik Sondhy sat down in a certain St. John’s Wood facility and set to improvising. Six hours of the on-the-spot creativity resulted in a vast variety of material that would make four albums, and Sondhy’s first is both a teaser and a well-rounded jazz performance.
The record is bookended by two pieces that, not bound by a 10-minute mark, convey two different moods – the unhurried, though nicely textured in its stumble, boogie “London Blues” conjuring a dark, if adventurous, nocturnal jaunt, and “Echo Beach Calypso” a Caribbean getaway – and bring four shorter cuts into sharp focus. More so, the refraction of “I Will” through Erik’s ever-shifting prism brings out sophisticated elegy in The Fabs’ simple ballad as shards of the original melody seep through the sparse rumination, while “Song For My Mother” is a delicate example of fragile emotions laid on the rippling ivories. Much more boisterous, “Sofia’s Rag” has all the makings of a juke joint favorite tune, Sondhy wringing elegant, and energetic, scherzos from a barrelhouse setup, yet “Hope” may be the most accomplished composition on offer, with dim delight sculpting gentle urgency out of deeply-chiseled chords.
As a result, a momentum for the next volume is shaped. Now, Erik Sondhy’s is a sound to follow.