Boyd Lee Dunlop

The Lake Reflections: Solo Piano Reflections

[B Sharp Records]

Rating: 3 stars

“Kick The Critic Out” is the title of one of the musical streams-of-consciousness on Boyd Lee Dunlop’s suprisingly lovely new set of piano soliloquys. Maybe that’s because critics are the ones who will instantly recognize the chord changes of Matt Dennis’ “Angel Eyes” in the skeleton of the tune (they’re not even hidden, for pity’s sake.)

That is how Dunlop works in these ultra-personal streams of musical consciousness. In a tune that Dunlop calls “America the Peaceful,” you’ll hear, in passing, clear references to “America the Beautiful.” In “Kick the Critic Out” you’ll hear Matt Dennis, in another tune you’ll hear the changes of “Cry Me a River” struggling to announce themselves and in still another the rich chromaticism of “Deep Purple.”

And that’s the point of these Proustian musical explorations; they’re an old man’s fantasias on music half and fully remembered. In his first disc – a trio affair – what Dunlop was doing wasn’t a quarter as interesting as the young Buffalo-connected producers (Brendan Bannon and Allen Farmelo) who found the Buffalo piano-playing brother of the great drummer Frankie Dunlop and wanted the world to celebrate their discovery as much as they did. It was a great story which is why the New York Times went along with them, even if the music on that first disc wasn’t nearly as interesting as the story.

Because the second one is a set of solo lucubrations, where the pianist is responsible only to his producers (and no other musicians), this is vastly more interesting. By the time you get through his musical remembrances of tunes past (none but “America the Beautiful” mentioned anywhere in the disc), it all becomes lovely and rather moving in its way.

– Jeff Simon