charlie lemonade Even the jazz novice can understand this: Peacock's fingers can't seem to find the wrong notes on the keyboard...

Twenty Ten Music (Digital Only)

12 tracks 57:57 minute

A man of many hats (including one Big Man's Hat), Charlie Peacock's new digital-only release, Lemonade, has the versatile musician/artist/producer donning his best pork-pie variety to produce a new solo recording consisting entirely of piano improvisational pieces. Followers of Peacock's musical history will note that this is his third recording in a purely jazz idiom, the first two being 2005's Love Press Ex-Curio, a combo effort, and 2008's Arc of the Circle, a duet project with Charlie on keys and Jeff Coffin on sax and woodwinds. Stepping out of any box you might want to put him in, Peacock now goes totally solo on Lemonade, turning out 12 stunning instrumental pieces – a man and his piano, period. It's a long way from "Every Heartbeat."

Of course Peacock, the producer of the aforementioned Amy Grant pop hit, wouldn't distance himself from a mere pop song, his other hats include pop music in all its forms. Maybe it's that keen sense of soul and the hook – so inherant to pop music - that makes this purely jazz recording so palatable to a wide variety of listeners (which I'm sure that it will be). As musically sophisticated as Lemonade is, Charlie never forgets that melody (and there's strong melodic strains on every track) and passion will always reach a listener – at least if their minds and ears are open.....

I suppose I don't have the musical pedigree to discuss in technical terms the nuances of what Charlie does on the keyboard, but I can say that his fingers don't seem to know where the wrong notes are. Recorded in marvelously clear, pristine sound, we hear his fingers trip deftly up and down across the 88 keys, creating musical vignettes that are a treat to the soul as well as the intellect. Themes are stated and revisited, melodic runs play against evocative bass lines, and musical statements are summed up neatly at the end. The bottom line concerning this dozen delightful tunes is that Peacock has found the balance between accessibility and genuine jazz chops - and we all benefit.

For those looking for something more familiar to grab onto, Peacock includes a bit of the universal language known as blues in "Blues in the Middle," but Lemonade proves that jazz can be just as universal in the right hands. Frank Zappa once said, "Jazz isn't dead – it just smells funny." Well here's a batch that smells very fresh indeed!

Bert Saraco

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