||This is my first encounter with New York pianist Andrew Shapiro’s music. Piano 3 is obviously his third release, preceded by Intimate Casual and Numbers, Colors and People. One of the tracks from Numbers, a cut called Mint Green, has garnered quite a following on Pandora Radio. He had appeared on several major venues including The Kennedy Center for the Arts, The New Fall Festival in Dusseldorf and the Exit Festival in Serbia. Shapiro gets around. Piano 3 contain twelve contemporary solo piano tracks. He seems to favor the middle range of the keyboard and his music is light and bright. Overall, the tunes are mid-tempo with just a few slower songs in the mix.
The opening track Royal Purple does not lean toward pomp and circumstance, but to a light hearted foray into lavender fields, quiet observations of violet sunsets and the set of magenta mountains in the distance. There is a wide open space feeling to the tune.
Cetera sounded like a tone poem, the notes reverberating, but the melody unchanging for some time. Cetera is a rare and strange word meaning all that remains. The tune is a warm distillation of expressive notes, sometimes somber, but not truly sad.
Tiger-Box was one of the more complex and expressive tunes. I am thinking that this particular album is dedicated to family and friends and Tiger Box is a keepsake for a loved one. Maybe it is a child or a lover, but the emotion, one that connects song to person, is a strong bond. Is it the lady or the “Tigger”?
Starting with a lively “chopsticks” opening, Ply-My segues into a dynamic piece, full of sunny days, blue skies and warm breezes. It had that outdoorsy feel to it that was a carefree and open. I kept getting a cheerful vibe from this rhythmic tune.
One of my favorites on Piano 3 is called Moon. I liked because it displayed the happiness and upbeat tempo of a TV theme, a show I am sure I would like. Who doesn’t like chasing the moon down a country road or looking at that silvery orb while traveling on a plane or train? Everything glows with an eerie light and the music does have a bit of radiance in the notes.
Serena is another mid-tempo tune, but still lively and vivacious, into which Andrew pours the most passion. This is a tribute song. I liked the way the music ascended throughout the melody as if our attention is turned skyward. And there she is, the sun in your life.
The final cut is called Timing and to me it is a mark on a page, a red letter day on a calendar, or perhaps a memory that will endure forever. It is the day of the first meeting, whether by chance or fate or what have you. The title says it all.
Andrew Shapiro’s music seems to depend on a two finger tapping motif that I found ubiquitous throughout the album. I also found that the several of the songs lacked tonal color, particularly bass notes, making them somewhat homogenous. Furthermore, I felt that the audio recording lacked a kind of presence, as if the music was recorded without attention to modulation.