Tied Up With Strings

Opening unusually with ‘Retrouvé Estampie,’ keyboard music from the Renaissance, there’s a harnessing of both very old and very new musical traditions on this eclectic solo piano album from Steve Lodder, still well remembered for his work with saxophonist Andy Sheppard in the late-1980s and 1990s.

Recorded over two days in July last year at the Old Malthouse studio in Kent …Tied Up With Strings also includes the second movement of Bach’s Italian Concerto, a tip of the hat to Motown, and renditions of Lodder’s own compositions, ‘Cranborne Close’, for instance, softly unrolling in the pastoral atmosphere of the improvisation.

Subtitled “favourite things for solo piano,” Lodder comes alive on an elegant take on the Weatherspoon/Riser-penned Jimmy Ruffin hit ‘What Becomes of the Broken Hearted’ although the four-piano dubbed piano piece dedicated to classical pianist Joanna MacGregor at the end may well be one of the album’s biggest talking points and certainly its most elaborate feature.

Beautifully played with plenty of variety (even free improv on ‘MadeUp2’) it’s an album of equal interest to both jazz and classical listeners and is easy to admire but perhaps could be a bit more involving. SG

Released on 24 November