Seattle, Washington, now Los Angeles-based pianist and composer Greg Reitan, a graduate of the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California, released this, his debut disc, at the beginning of 2009. Reitan, a composer and supervisor of music for television and film, has his own production company, Evergreen Point Music, which does work for CBS Television, Warner Brothers, CNN networks, XM Satellite Radio, ABC News, and NBC News. As a classical composer he has won numerous awards. His "Clarinet Concerto: In Three Movements" was performed by the USC Symphony conducted by Donald Crockett with soloist Donald Foster.
With a touch so light and a comping style behind his own and bass solos so sparse one can’t help but be reminded of Vince Guaraldi, it doesn’t hurt that the drums are mixed a bit cavernously like Guaraldi’s Charlie Brown Christmas recording, Reitan’s first Sunnyside recording shows the pianist to be a sensitive and technically facile musician. Rare in these days of piano pounders, Reitan’s smooth lines, sweet sense of swing, and delightfully hip manner of approaching melodies, shows teh pianist to be a welcomed breath of fresh air into a market overstuffed with piano trios that aim for grand expression and overblown preponderance of ruthless drive. With Reitan one finds a musician who can play as fast as anyone, yet only uses his ample technique when the moment is right.
On "Star Song" Reitan’s furiously flowing speedily rushing notes only arrive at points dictated by taste and preparation. In the hands of less knowledgeable or mature musicians this kind of technique would be wasted, but here they find delicate and finely crafted expression. The pianist intuitively understands phrase and how they flow both within themselves and how they’re intimately connected to both previous and subsequently unfolding line constructs. That said nothing ever seems out of place as Reitan’s deft handling of melody, harmony and rhythm all collect together to find delicately turned moments of true fancy.
This same kind of conscious thought process is displayed throughout the disc. At times Reitan is more introspective than others, as on "The Wayfarer," and at times more playful, as on a truly charmingly bopped up turn on John Coltrane’s "Giant Steps," but essentially Reitan is the real deal. Obviously not swayed by others, Reitan has his own fully formed mature conceptualizations. With simple but completely in the moment support from studio bassist Jack Daro and drummer Dean Koba, Reitan is truly the star of this disc and one well worth checking out.