Review: Splashes of color from jazz pianist Sam Reider

“Petrichor,” Sam Reider (Slow & Steady)

Jazz pianist Sam Reider can sound reflective or restless, pensive or playful, sometimes in adjacent measures.

“Petrichor” is the solo debut album from Reider, who sings and plays accordion for the jazz-bluegrass group Human Hands. His new release features eight original instrumentals that echo Debussy, Chopin, Gershwin, James Booker and Keith Jarrett, among others, but the end result is delightfully distinctive.

Reider recently moved back to his hometown of San Francisco, and he says the music was inspired by the region’s landscape. He mixes melodic moments with discordant intervals, serving up splashes of color in a range of registers. His explorations lead to subtle undulations, modulations and roller-coaster runs as notes tinkle, thunder, sing and shimmer before reaching satisfying conclusions.

Choice cuts include the title tune, an uptempo gem with a rollicking bass line, and “Land’s End,” a blue waltz built on a wandering three-note rhythmic pattern. It’s never certain where those notes will land, and on “Petrichor,” that’s one more reason to keep listening.


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