Personnel: Yaëlle Penkoss De Aquino (grand piano).
Audio Mixer: Jim Luce.
Recording information: Klavierhaus, New York City (03/14/2008).
Photographer: Raphaëlle Brui.
Philippe Baden Powell, son of the famed Brazilian guitar player, has developed an enviable reputation for himself as a pianist. It speaks volumes that this, only his second solo album, appears as part of the prestigious Piano Masters series. And this really is solo, just Baden Powell and piano, playing some of his own compositions as well as some covers. Although his roots are in Brazil, his outlook is very cosmopolitan, with a well-developed personal style. That's especially evident on his version of Monk's classic "'Round About Midnight." It's one of Monk's most melodic pieces, with a lovely, lonely lyricism to the melody. Baden Powell fleshes that out, bringing a lush feel to the piece, to the point that it almost seems fully orchestrated, with blossoming romance replacing the singular view of the original. He accomplishes much the same with John Coltrane's groundbreaking "Giant Steps," where the eager jaggedness of the familiar version has been honed away into something smoother but equally satisfying. He's an instrumentalist who firmly believes in the power of both hands on the keyboard, with agile hands and imagination, and a view that looks far beyond his country's musical borders. ~ Chris Nickson