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CD Review: Judy Night "Sliding on Glass"

Updated: Feb 6, 2019

Written by Hrayr Attarian

Judy Night Sliding on Glass

Judy Night – piano

TC Furlong – steel pedal guitar

Brian Wilkie – guitar

Jackson Kidder – bass

Justin Kramer – drums

Chicago pianist Judy Night’s debut, the delightful, Sliding on Glass is an accessible and charming album that highlights Night’s elegant style. Recorded live on August 5th 2018 at the 210, a venue Night co-owns, it features her with her working group for an intimate program of seven covers and one of her composition.

Night’s sole original, the title track, is lyrical and impressionistic with abundant hints of Americana. The pianist’s shimmering keys cascade with bittersweet tones while steel pedal guitarist TC Furlong adds a warm folkish feel with his twangy lines. The ensemble refrains undulate with understated passion.

Furlong shines on the country tune “Wichita Linemen” that also features a blues tinged performance from guitarist Brian Wilkie. Night’s smooth refrains together with hypnotic bass/drums vamps bring a buoyancy to the music.

Wilkie embellishes the haunting melody with contemplative melancholy on guitarist John Abercrombie’s “Timeless”. Night contributes resonant and wistful phrases as bassist Jackson Kidder solos with eloquence.

Night opens prog rock band, King Crimson’s “Moonchild” with intriguing organ notes. She deftly switches between piano and organ demonstrating her virtuosity on both instruments. Drummer Justin Kramer drives the piece with his restless percolating beats and takes center stage, briefly, with understated poignancy.

The quintet interprets “Do You Hear What I Hear”, the unique Christmas song that became a plea for peace, with dramatic flair. Night’s cinematic piano contrasts with and complements Furlong’s pensive strings and Wilkie’s ardent chords. Kramer sets a martial cadence that Kidder punctuates with his thumping bass.

Although short on improvisational rigor this disc is highly enjoyable and engaging. It showcases Night’s versatility and her skills as a composer and performer as well as the cohesive synergy of the band. Given this and the variety of the material within Sliding on Glass will definitely have a wide appeal.

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