Danny Holt: Piano Music of Mike Garson
(Innova Recordings / Apr 22, 2022)
Mike Garson's music entranced composer Danny Holt on first listen. Garson is probably best known for his work with David Bowie. Starting in 1972, he appeared on several of Bowie's albums, and toured extensively with him, including in the US. The performer and composer became friends, and Garson helped to produce Holt's first album, Fast Jump.
This represents the first recording dedicated to Garson's solo piano works. Garson's technique uses first take improvisations composed in real-time, and both share a taste for music with a feeling of immediacy and edge.
Many of the pieces are tributes of one sort or another, from the sweeping Homage to Chopin & Godowsky with its swirling virtuosity, to his own Tribute to David Bowie. In the latter, he's inspired more by the late artist's towering presence in the world of music than Bowie's art-pop. Similarly, a Tribute to Keith Emerson has an edgy contemporary flavour, as opposed to the more bombastic mode the late keyboard whiz preferred.
Two Nocturnes are sublimely lovely, with a gorgeous flow. His Nowtudes are an amusing riff on the classic études format.
Holt's playing is and warm, drawing the expression out of the music in a variety of moods. If his intention was to showcase his musical friend's talents and range, then the job has been accomplished with polish.
Mike Garson: "Tremolando" performed by Danny Holt (Video recorded and edited by Danny Holt in Death Valley National Park, CA)