Phil Broadhurst’s final album was recorded in late 2019 and released in June of 2020 following his death, aged 70, in April. It is a beautiful set of spontaneous compositions, solo piano improvisations that were recorded at home – with thanks to Rattle head Steve Garden and engineer John Kim who set up four microphones and a recording system allowing Broadhurst to capture these reflective, tender, evocative instrumentals.
I was always a fan of his playing and particularly the way it suited dense compositions and lighter fare, solo, duo, trio, quartet and larger ensemble settings. There was no one obvious song setting or arrangement style for Broadhurst. He was a player first and foremost. And thoughtful composer and adaptable arranger within (and around) those confines. He cared about communicating a musical idea. The song was in the shape it best suited and here we have little fragments and ballads. These are tinkered little gems, soft noodlings of inspiration.
This is light and lovely and there are gentle surprises in these works. You hear the pianist thinking. You hear the pianist reacting. You hear the pianist composing, shaping, making.
And of course since he knew this to be his final album there’s the poignancy of racing against a deadline, of chasing final thoughts and hidden dreams.
The album has sold through its limited-edition CD run. But it’s a digital landscape we are living in, around and through – so you can still hear this if not hold it. It’s the music that matters and this is glorious, gorgeous piano reveries – reminiscent of Dave Grusin at his most tender. There’s something filmic and scene-setting about these lovely little sunrises and sunsets.
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