Sunday, May 20, 2018
Album Review: Harold O'Neal- Piano Cinema
A player piano in a Wild West saloon that emits the melodies of contemporary rock songs is a curious detail in HBO’s reboot of “Westworld.” In much the same way, Harold O’Neal’s new solo album Piano Cinema is an unlikely combination of vintage and progressive sounds.
Born in Tanzania and raised in Kansas City, O’Neal is the nephew of Pete O’Neal, the controversial exile who once led the Black Panthers in Kansas City.
Piano Cinema often sounds as if a hologram of Art Tatum is paying tribute to Scott Joplin. While “Jukebox Motion” echoes the rendition of “In a Sentimental Mood” on the 1963 album Duke Ellington & John Coltrane, much of Piano Cinema evokes the classical impressionism of Claude Debussy.
A curious sound field gives Piano Cinema a unique ambience. While the music is serene on the surface, the album’s uneasy undercurrent might compel anyone who chooses to unwind to Piano Cinema to meditate with one eye open.
(Original image by Plastic Sax.)