I am not the first nor will be the last to describe Anthony Molinaro and his mastery of solo piano as both exceptional and riveting.
Before this weekend I did not know anything much about his music. By chance I came across the announcement for his concert at Porgy and Bess, one of two jazz clubs in Vienna, and since I like solo piano, classic, jazz, blues, and Gershwin I thought it might be worth checking it out. It was.
In terms of the melody, the right hand is usually the one that leads on the piano, even for pieces which are challenging for both hands. But in Anthony’s case, the left hand seems to love the piano equally, if not more, and this opens up new avenues for expression. In combination with his power of imagination, as reflected in his arrangements and improvisations, it all makes for pioneering music. His interpretation of Gershwin has been rightly called ‘New Blue’.
He played his 24-minute long ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ (amazing as in open-mouthed), ‘Summertime,’ a few other jazz standards, and some Beatles music—proving each time that what makes a melody, a theme or a song ‘classic’ is its power for re-invention; same with Schubert’s ‘Gretchen am Spinnrade’ (heart-breaking as in teary-eyed). His own composition ‘Canto per mio padre’ is thoughtful and sad, its sound like the concentric circles on the water made by the falling rain.
Currently Anthony Molinaro is recording a big-band version of ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ and an album with music from the Beatles.