Personnel: Larry Willis (piano); Billy Fazioli (piano).
Liner Note Author: Larry Willis.
Recording information: The Fazioli Concert hall, Sacile, Italy (11/12/2011-11/13/2011).
Photographer: Alan Nahigian.
Larry Willis mixes standards, jazz classics, and potent originals on this solo piano release. The sessions have a late-night, ruminative flavor, starting with a loping take of "This Time the Dream's On Me." His shimmering rendition of "Lazy Afternoon" opens with a spacious improvised introduction, while he makes great use of space in his interpretation of this ballad. The Ellington-Strayhorn songbook is represented by the former's whispering "The Single Petal of a Rose" and the latter's haunting "Lotus Blossom," both played with restraint, as these timeless pieces require few embellishments. The pianist's originals are just as impressive. "Sanctuary" was written for a project that included strings, though his moving solo piano arrangement is no less moving, suggesting an idyllic, isolated beach hideaway on a clear summer afternoon. "Blues for Marco," named for his co-producer, has a whimsical air, while "Silly Blues" starts like a ballad but quickly shifts to a laid-back, closing-hour blues. Recorded over two days on a top-notch Fazioli grand piano, this solo piano CD is easily among Larry Willis' best recordings. ~ Ken Dryden