Bob Bralove | Stories in Black and White

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Jazz: Free Jazz Classical: Contemporary Moods: Mood: Dreamy
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Stories in Black and White

by Bob Bralove

Hand-crafted improvisational stories on acoustic piano that range from the dreamy to the ecstatic. Free improvisations.
Genre: Jazz: Free Jazz
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
clip
1. Remembrance of Things Past
5:30 album only
clip
2. Sweet Sorrow
4:50 album only
clip
3. November Sky
6:00 album only
clip
4. Liquid Moonlight
5:54 album only
clip
5. Quicksilver Rain
2:56 album only
clip
6. Cowboy Sunset
2:22 album only
clip
7. Wind Before the Storm
3:01 album only
clip
8. Urban Twilight
2:16 album only
clip
9. Dream of an American Cossack
5:16 album only
clip
10. Midnight Snowfall
4:42 album only
clip
11. Requiem for a Friend
6:19 album only

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
I have been a fan of improvisational music for most of my life but didn’t appreciate the potential of truly high-risk music making until I worked with the Grateful Dead.

Approaching a performance with no preconception of what you are about to play gives each note the power to redefine the entire performance – much like the Grateful Dead approached the “Drums and Space” section of their shows.

In this environment the performer must compose, interpret and play the music simultaneously, without a tune or song to fall back on. It is, in a way, performing without a net. When the Grateful Dead ended, I began exploring this style of performance in Dose Hermanos with Tom Constanten and, later, in The Psychedelic Keyboard Trio with both Tom and Vince Welnick. "Stories in Black and White" is my first solo exploration of this free improvisation on acoustic piano. I had no predetermined idea what melody, harmony or rhythms would emerge, thus, simultaneously creating, performing and recording each piece. Played on the 1916 Steinway grand piano that belonged to my father--the instrument I played as a child and on which I discovered the magic of making music--these recordings capture the energy and excitement of spontaneous composition.

I decided to play/record before an intimate audience, shifting the consciousness of the sessions. Inviting close friends over for a series of dinner parties, I’d first play and record for an hour, we’d enjoy the meal, and then I’d record for another hour or so. Stories in Black and White is a collection of the best material created from a series of these dinner parties over a three-month period. The title describes my sense of the intimate environment -- friends sitting around telling stories, talking about characters in their lives, shooting the breeze. My living room was the recording studio helping to create this intimacy and familiarity. At times you may hear cars pass by in the distance or a guest coughing; yet, the energy captured is strong and unmistakable. Each piece has it’s own character and direction.

“Cowboy Sunset” was written with Tom Constanten in a similar manner, although not at those dinner parties. This solo version is more recent, and is a nod to my newest direction in piano playing. Using computer technology that allows me to connect my visual artwork to the acoustic piano, I am mapping images to the eighty-eight notes on the piano keyboard. Not only playing sounds, I’m playing visuals, adding a new dimension to my improvisational performance. Visit www.bobbralove.com for the video portion of this recording. Listeners will see where things may be going in the future. Enjoy!

Bob Bralove

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Reviews


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John Book, Music For America

An exceptional album that is a fantastic listen from start to finish
Jazz music. Grateful Dead

Yeah, it might not sound exactly like the right combination, but ask any Deadhead and they will tell you otherwise. In this case, pianist Bob Bralove had spent some time with the Dead, playing improvisational music where what you played depended on what you wanted to play. That moved him to creating music with Dos Hermanos and The Psychedelic Keyboard Trio, and now he's going at it on his own with Stories In Black And White (BLove Music).

Even though these songs are spontaneous and off-the-head, Bralove executes each song very well and one doesn't mind taking each one on for the duration of the song. A number of pieces, such as "Quicksilver Rain", "Wind Before The Storm", and "Sweet Sorrow", all sound like creations-in-the-works, and to me he can play in the vein of a Keith Jarrett, but without sounding like him at all. There are many good piano recordings, and a small number of exceptional ones, especially solo improv piano. This happens to be one of the exceptional ones, an album that is a fantastic listen from start to finish.
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