Terry Riley: Arica
Terry Riley (piano)
Lisbon Concert (New Albion 087)
Terry Riley (piano).
Composed by Terry Riley.
Recorded: Teatro São Luís, Lisbon, July 16, 1995
Rating: 95/100 (learn more)
Terry Riley is not known as a jazz pianist. I repeat: he is not a jazz pianist. His reputation is as a composer of (so-called) classical music. Then again, you would never guess it from listening to this track -- or, for that matter, to the entire Lisbon Concert. Riley's phrasing at the keyboard, his rhythmic feel, his melodic flow are exceptional, and very idiomatic when viewed from a jazz perspective. This CD could show up on the ECM label, and it would fit perfectly on your iPod playlist alongside Jarrett, Bley, Corea, et al.
So is this minimalist classical music or jazz or something else entirely? Frankly, I don't care to pigeonhole it. Even more, I would suggest that the freshest and most exciting music of our times is frequently situated in a similarly ambiguous position. The interstices between the genres are where the action is. Terry Riley himself had built his whole life around the vitality of sounds and their interrelations, realizing that the words and labels are more a hindrance.
So I will resist the temptation to label this as a jazz recording. Let's just take a tip from the AACM and call it creative music. (But I will say this . . . I would love to hear another CD like this one, but with bass and drums.)
Reviewer: Ted Gioia
Tags: solo piano