The problem with a lot of solo instrument recordings is that over the length of a whole album, the player may start to seem, well, annoying. Like the proverbial know-it-all at the local bar, the artist may have the bluster to fill out the running time, but precious few ideas to add any coherence to the noise. Luckily this is not the case with Solo
the latest release from piano virtuoso Michel Camilo. Neatly comprised of four standards, four Brazilian numbers, and four originals, Camilo has the good artistic sense to vary the program enough to maintain interest while at the same time casting an overriding unity over the project so as not to make the variations too jarring.
"A Dream," an unabashedly lovely Camilo original, opens the album with a meditative hush. The playing here, as throughout, is gorgeous and performs the neat trick of lulling the listener deeply into the recording rather than seizing attention through histrionic attacks on the consciousness. Elsewhere, "’Round Midnight" is given a sensitive reading that further proves that the tune’s air of sly mystery is uniquely suited to a solo piano treatment.
Solo is the first album by Camilo as a piano soloist and is a testament to his deep resources as a musician. While his trio recordings certainly offer their own pleasures, future solo efforts by him would be most welcome.