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John Gentry Tennyson: Press

Europa

“Imagine Chopin and Chick Corea by way of a mélange of French, Spanish, and Italian influences, all played by a Texas jazzman and recorded in Monte Carlo. It could have been a mess - it’s anything but…”
"Truth, Beauty, and Love (yes, all with capitalization) find a mesmerizing Mediterranean motif on this unusual, appealing outing that draws major influences from Parisian café society and Italian arias. Better known for back-up band status with guitar legend Al Di Meola and divas Sophie B. Hawkins and Sarah Brightman, piano-man Tennyson weaves together an electric, if eclectic, amalgam of musical vignettes that veer from jazz to classical to 19th century pop and back again.

What unites these disparate elements is an unfettered sense of joie de vivre, an eagerness to embrace life to the fullest. Even the cool, Bartok-meets-the-Beatniks groove of “Fortunato” cannot resist a passionate middle section before easing into an admittedly intellectual ending. But it is the ear candy, accordion-like accents on “Città Vecchia” and the gloriously swank “Milonga Sinistra” that appeal to the senses most; the latter’s heady blend of cheap whiskey, talcummed flesh, and Gauloise smoke is the best invitation to walk on the wild side since Lou Reed’s seminal statement."
“…Tennyson - a pianist with a severe case of wanderlust – creates quite a beautiful recording. Europa, the title track, which begins with Tennyson showing off his incredible classical chops before jumping head first into a playful Latin-jazz romp-that tune captures Tennyson's complete European journey in a matter of minutes.”
Jonathan Widran - JAZZIZ
“…if when listening to this disc the name Armando or Anthony pops into your head, it's not necessarily your imagination. In addition, the title cut, Europa, proves to be an excellent vehicle for Tennyson to really stretch, and sounds quite inspired on this piece. To sum up, this CD is like pizza; it does an excellent job in combining old world Italian customs with new world American ideas...”
"...Vivid small-ensemble orchestrations. The results are diverse, dramatic and evocative..."
Chuck Berg - Jazz Times
"(Europa) plays like a lush foreign film score, complete with sweeping romantic scenes, and elegant reflective solo piano moments, and a few dashing rhythmic surprises along the way.”
All Music Guide
“…this music is classical, jazz and tango. Europa is universally beautiful and inspiring music.”
Kurt Weil - JAZZ Magazine/Zurich
“The finest of the best - Tennyson is incomparable in his delicate sense of melody and dynamics - a powerhouse of an intuitive musical language. Rhythms intoxicate and John's technical runs amass awe in the experience. A tonal treat and undeniable mastery in composition. Europa soars.”
“A most excellent album to have in your "romantic" music collection. The music will have you hypnotized with its' continuous elegance. The perfect selection for unforgettable memories!”

Real World Trio

"Introspective and ingratiating piano trio jazz that swings like Bill Evans and Keith Jarrett."
Chuck Berg - Jazz Times
“This CD (Real World Trio) showcases acrobatic restraint, as each composition comes off subtly and beautifully, with solo sections that play outside and inside - with interesting and melodic choices during the improvisations.”

PopJazz

"There once was a time when even the most prominent jazz musicians would get involved in what in the USA is generally known as pop music. Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins, Bill Evans (especially him!) – they all interpreted in their own personal manner the well-established standards of the «All American Songbook». There is no reason whatsoever why young musicians on the current scene shouldn’t do the same. But there is a serious difference: The old standards are all built on the rhythmic pattern of the 4/4 time signature. Today, the orientation lies in the diverse rhythmic facets of each composition!

«Groove» is the name of game! And that is exactly what this production projects. Bass player Peter Keiser is well versed in this category. He knows exactly how to supply the foundation on which a composition can be made clear, interesting and innovative. Keyboard wizard John Gentry Tennyson succeeds time after time in giving each tune the desired colour, idiomatic legitimacy and of course making his own mark when it comes to melodics, technique and harmonic embellishment. It therefore comes as no surprise that these two musicians have found each other. And it is even less of a surprise that this duo works organically and perfectly together. The description «Popjazz» thus acquires a legitimate meaning. Even in a remote sense more than often, all compositions lean on patterns which derive from the upper class of pop music. The rhythmic aspect stays within the guidelines of funk, soul and last but not least jazz rock. Tennyson and Keiser are on their way to showing new and absolutely justifiable perspectives within the musical understanding of pop and jazz during the past twenty years. Both protagonists do it with all the means they both possess on an extremely high level.

The times have changed – even though creativity, innovation and enormous ability are still very much in demand. Both Tennyson and Keiser are devoted to a task which, when given a closer look, makes just as much sense as the pop interpretations of the great masters during the Fifties. The small and subtle difference is that while many different aspects can be studied on this production, the main thing that counts is the direction in which it goes. Everything else is a musical definition of the position and a creative expression of two excellent musicians."
Kurt Weil - JAZZ Magazine/Zurich
"Groove is king on this set from keyboardist John Gentry Tennyson and bassist Peter Keiser (supported by various side musicians). Latin, funk, fusion, modern and traditional jazz styles abound, with a feel that is somewhat retro, yet timeless. There are superb arrangements throughout that are never boring or too busy, always allowing for dynamics and space.

Opening "PopJazz" is "Frankie Sunshine", a funky piece with echoes of Ramsey Lewis or Horace Silver in Tennyson's gospel-tinged piano work. "Boggiolina" kicks it up a notch with a slightly sinister Cuban flavor, while "Summer, Winter, Fall & Spring" is one of three tracks featuring vocalist Aisha de Haas, who shines on this R&B ballad. Despite its' faster tempo, "Lili Belle" is not rushed, but rather seems to float its' way through.

There are more heated grooves in such tracks as "Riviera", "Love Is The Ultimate Groove", "Maur", "Currents-Scenes From My Life", and "PopJazz", and easier-going moments in "Je Suis Fatigue", "The Last Good-Bye", and "Volo Nocturno". Every song has a life of its' own.

Although recorded in several locations, this CD has a natural flow about it, which showcases the exemplary production values and highlights the listening experience. All the musicians here handle their roles with aplomb and virtuoso skillfulness. "PopJazz" is a worthy addition to any serious jazz fan's collection."
"John Gentry Tennyson maintains his ranking as the finest pianist on earBuzz.com and one of the most creative and talented musicians of our era. His latest CD, "PopJazz", a collaboration with bassist extraordinaire, Peter Keiser, is yet another representation of his always moving scope.

Our favorite track is the 4th - an instrumental called, "Lili Belle". It is a moving locomotive of relaxing energy and modulation. Tennyson predominantly plays towards new age with minor keys that cascade uniformly with the wash of percussion as backdrop but then adds texture and major resolutions within the composition that peek briefly out from their new age home. "Lili Belle" is a mixture of serious contemplation peppered with smiles.

The simple dance of "Maur" starts bare and Irish, with Slavic sensibilities in it's evolution. The dance makes room for back beat groove about two minutes in - and the listener finds himself in 40's New York, smoke-filled and beat crazy. The tune starts with structure and purity and ends in chaotic jazz joy.

"Je Suis Fatigue" and "Last Good-Bye" are classic contemplative Tennyson. "Good-Bye" grooves new - and John takes the space to discover improvisational areas that we haven't heard in the tune prior. Wonderful.

The title track, "PopJazz", is most ambitious track on the CD. An envelope filter swallows Keiser's bass lines with funk. Tennyson layers piano with marimba. Percussion/drums throughout support the movement and the instrumental vamp in the center gives John a chance to 'Rhodes' his musical love into aural pleasure.

Aisha de Haas provides vocals on tracks, "Summer, Winter, Fall. & Spring" and "I Met Someone Wonderful". Her vocals are smoky and sultry and remind us of Anita Baker.

Great CD."