From my observation of sales at the store I frequent and people I talk to, I would have to say that Dan Tepfer is not a widely known and appreciated pianist (ouside the immediate jazz community), and yet I find all of his music, dating back to 2004, to be wonderful listening. When playing a familiar tune, be it from the traditional jazz book or from contemporary music, his sound is lyrical and his improvisations seemingly simple to listen to and appreciate. But Tepfer also is quite an improviser, and in at least two settings shows a flair for creativity in a full range of keys -- thus the title "Twelve Free Improvisations in Twelve Keys" on and early disk, and a similar approach in his improvised duets with Lee Konitz. Tepfer plays in a variety of settings -- as a soloist, in trios, and in a duet with Lee Konitz -- and in 2011 took on the challenge of the Goldberg Variations by Bach, alternating originals with some very clever improvisations for each. Tepfer reminds one of Enrico Pieranunzi and his CamJazz recordings of Scarlatti with variations (2008) and more recently of Bach, Handel and Scarlatti in 2011, which is rarified company to be running with. The duets with Lee Konitz are beautifully done and delicately played, and are easily one of the highlights of Tepfer's oeuvre.
Dan Tepfer is a pianist on the move and a talent that should not be overlooked. He is lyrical, creative, and a distinctive voice, and if he keeps up his recent pace of a disk a year (2009 with Lee Konitz, "Five Pedals Deep" in 2010, and the "Goldberg Variations" in 2011) we should have something great to look forward to in 2012.
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