Kevin Hays on Variations:
I have wanted to record a new solo piano CD for a while now and wanted to see what it would be like to create some basic ideas to explore in the studio. In many cases I had only a small sketch or idea with which to start.
An important component to the process was Patrick Zimmerli who co-produced the sessions. Pat and I have worked together for years now. With his strong background in composition, he provided “structural” support with ideas both in informal sessions leading up to the recording, at the studio and in post-production as we went through more than 4 hours of music.
It was during this last phase that the idea of Variations took shape. Many of the takes were quite different and we could begin to hear that they were developing throughout the 2 day session. So it began to make sense to present the music within this context of “Theme and Variation”.
My hope is that the listener will hear and feel this developing thread throughout the recording. Also because of the structure of the recording I think listeners will get the most out of the experience if they listen all the way through the CD in one (or more) sitting to get the full effect. At the same time I always strive for each improvisation to be able to stand on its own, both on an aesthetic and emotional level. [copy] [year]
Kevin Hays: piano
All compositions by Kevin Hays/Nivyek Yash Music/BMI
Produced by Jason Seizer
Co-produced by Patrick Zimmerli
Recorded December 2-3, 2010 at Bennett Studios, NJ
Recorded & mixed by Jason Seizer
Mastered by Cristoph Stickel
Variations is pure pianism on parade.
– Dan Bilawsky, All About Jazz
The results are striking and moving. 4 stars.
– Ray Comiskey, The Irish Times
The music on Variations is tautly focused and bracing… Hays’ disc possesses a brilliance on its own terms.
– Peter Hum, Ottawa Citizen
Touching on everything from Baroque to late Romantic to contemporary classical, Hays applies his own jazz-honed techniques to small gems that may be partially or wholly improvised. Either way, they’re consistently engaging, nearly all giving way to surprising musical depths despite their brevity.
– Philip Booth, Jazz Times
– Concerto (Austria)
– Jazz’n’More (Switzerland)
★★★★ (musical performance)
– Audio (Germany)
★★★★½ (musical performance)
– FonoForum (Germany)