Chilly Gonzales – Solo Piano II
From prankster rapper to electro-funk maestro, the artist formerly known as Jason Beck has long demonstrated a playfully flexible attitude towards genre. In the last two years alone, his iconoclasm has produced a chess movie and an orchestral hip-hop album, but of all his varied guises, it’s as a classically-trained pianist that he’s arguably most distinguished. Not only is 2004’s Solo Piano apparently his highest selling album to date, but he once beat Andrew WK in a head-to-head piano battle, and that guy can play.
Solo Piano II presents another 14 compositions in the titular style, and as before, Gonzales elegantly undercuts his natural inclination towards showing-off. There are no tricks or twists to this Ronseal-titled collection, just neo-classical ivory tinkling of the highest calibre, as tracks like the classy Othello channel their composer’s prodigious talents into gracefully simple melodies, modestly but expertly reaffirming his 21st century Renaissance-man credentials.