Reviews

Blues, Preludes & Feuds Reviews

“Easily one of the very best piano releases of the last 30 years”
This DEFINITELY is going in my Year’s Best of 2016, easily one of the very best piano releases of the last 30 years, interestingly responding to all levels of listening, from the lightest and most easily titillated all the way up to the attentions of master craftsmen long versed in layers and layers of subtlety and outrageous invention. — Mark S. Tucker, VERITAS VAMPIRUS #1,252: CD Reviews (read complete review)

UPDATE: just picked as #2 on Tucker’s list of Best Albums of 2016!

“Just plain genius”
Blues, Preludes & Feuds is a brilliant amalgamation of classical, folk, stride, bebop, gospel, boogie-woogie, free jazz, offering beautiful melodies and just plain genius flowing from one man sitting at the piano. The project is intriguing and a gem in the solo piano linage. — Geannine Reid, All About Jazz

“Best Original Piano Album”
“What a perfect way for a piano-lover to start off 2017… I give Peter a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of a (perfect) 5.00; meaning that this also gets my “PICK” for “best original piano album”—Contemporary Fusion Reviews (January 3, 2017)

 

“In Saltzman’s hands, it can also sound like a symphony.”
Blues, Preludes & Feuds: A Musical Memory Parts 1-4 (Salt Muse, Inc.) by Peter Saltzman is a solo piano CD of
many hues. The 28 tracks in 59:28 bespeak a quiet elegance (yet he can light up a fire at even a hint of ostinato). 
Dude can play the blues. He goes from Bach to improvisation at the drop of a G-clef. Billy Joel once wrote that “the piano it sounds like a carnival.” In Saltzman’s hands, it can also sound likea symphony. — Mike Greenblatt, The Aquarian (November 16, 2016)

“Refreshingly Unique”
We need to enter his realm, give a listen and step into a new (and very personal) dimension. Give it a try – the man is a terrific pianist and the ideas are refreshingly unique.” *****Five Stars.— Grady Harp, amazon.com Hall of Fame Top 100 Reviewer

“Uniquely Wonderful”
“The author, composer and musician has combined his gifts in this memoir of his life. The story, both poignant and funny, brings his musicality to the pages via words and notes. At the conclusion of each chapter (or beginning of the next chapter) we are left with the gift of an originally composed piece of music that dynamically captures the tone and content of the written word. There’s a magical quality to reading and listening to his story. Peter takes the reader on his journey to discovering and indulging his life’s passion, music, and I should add, his gift with the written word as well.” —Dame Ethel, App Store

“Protean”
“A protean Chicagoan…this is a wild man just waiting for you to fully discover what he can do with a piano that defied genre busting and mash ups. This is certainly a cat you want to know. Well done.” —Chris Spector Midwest Record

“A Rich Touch…Playful”
Peter Saltzman brings his piano for 28, count ‘em, 28 pieces of a four part (with Prelude) work that mixes improvisation with 
form to be used as the soundtrack for a book of his growing up in Chicago. The songs range from just over half a minute to a whopping five and a half, ranging from percussive fragments to deep sketches. He’s got a rich touch, and is quite playful on his ”Star Spangled Minor” as well as reworking of some Bach pieces for modern ears.  His rapid note runs are impressive.— George W. Harris, Jazz Weekly

Other Works

“Powerful Stuff”—Dallas Morning News


“Imaginative…brilliant”—Chicago Tribune


“Jaws drop when Saltzman sits at the piano and plays.”—ChicagolandMusicalTheatre.com


Peter Saltzman and his Revolution Ensemble presented the premiere of ‘Kaballah Blues/Quantum Funk,’ an ambitious, richly layered, wonderfully accessible 55-minute work for elaborate jazz combo and vocalists. Taking off on a cosmic theme, Saltzman has unified the ancient and spiritual (in the form of Jewish prayer and mysticism), with the modern and scientific (in the form of quantum physics and the search for universal forces). Using a subtle blend of traditional Jewish melodies, jazz standards and early 20th century sounds from Gershwin to Debussy (with lyrics sung deftly by Gingi Lehera, backed hauntingly by percussionist Jeff Stitely) the composer also suggested the connection between the love of God, and the love between a man and a woman.” —Hedy Weiss, Chicago Sun-Times


With a voice like stretching taffy, exquisitely dissonant harmonies and contemporary classical influences from the post-60’s avant garde movements, this jazz ensemble is not only striking in its juxtaposition of jazz and modern classical, almost atonal worlds, but in the fact that it doesn’t shy away from the obtuse, the weird, the unfashionable and the clashy- and then breaks into plain ol’ classy bebop. They’re shooting holes through the shields of jazz so be there to see what spills out.—Tamara D. Turner, CDBaby.com


“This Chicago-based jazz group is definitely one to watch for. This set [Kabbalah Blues/Quantum Funk], their first, is a wonderfully witty and passionate combination of a wide range of influences from Debussy to Mingus, from Gershwin to Webern, from the Art Ensemble of Chicago to Eddie Palmieri. The result is a brilliant jazz-classical fusion with a seriously Jewish soul. Saltzman is a superb writer and fine pianist and the rest of the group are inventive and skillful. Rating: 5 stars.” —George Robinson, Jewish News (NYC)


With all of the musicians and members of the ensemble having some form of classical music training, one may expect to experience songs with classical qualities. Some of the songs certainly have classical elements, but Peter Saltzman, who composed all of the songs on the album, has taken elements from other genres and incorporated them into the compositions. This makes for fresh and original material that allows one who is not a lover of classical music to experience the genre in mild doses. The melody for “Oseh Shalom,” which is the root of “Prologue,” is by Max Helfman and is used with permission from Transcontinental Music Publications/New Jewish Music Press. With a psychedelic jazz essence, the opening track, “Prologue,” is graced by Gingi Lahera’s melodic and soulful vocals. The many instrumental nuances used throughout the “Prologue” capture the listeners at each twist and turn of the intriguing melody. With an experimental jazz quality at the center of the song structure, one gets to experience a short aural journey into new musical frontiers done by masters of the craft. The melody for “Oseh Shalom is also at the root of the “Finale.” The use of Jill Kaeding’s talented presentation on the cello gives the melody great depth and breadth. There is so much happening instrumentally on the “Finale” that the listener is virtually blown away by the intense melodic beauty created. Jeff Stitely maintains a soft and masterful presence on percussion, which creates a strong foundation that allows for the magnificent instrumental and vocal expansions. Peter Saltzman and the Revolution Ensemble have come up with the ultimate musical journey and experience on Kabbalah Blues/Quantum Funk. The album finds the ensemble tapping into the groove of contemporary American urban music, the freedom and energy of rock, the improvisational qualities of American jazz, complex song structure, the marvelous tonal color of classical music, and the emotional qualities of blues. The lyrics are expertly crafted representing American life and experiences in vibrant portions. This is an album that ultimately delivers mass doses of listening entertainment, which has so much going on that one will find something new to marvel at with each listen. A must-have for the musician who starts thinking that it has all been done before. This album proves, once and for all, there is much more that can be done if one knows what one is doing and is able to accomplish the technical portion. If one finds it too difficult to achieve a goal, sit back and listen to the Revolution Ensemble — it doesn’t get any better than this. —Larry Belanger, All Music Guide


“The Revolution Ensemble…led by award-winning composer Peter Saltzman, is trying to do what few have tried: push classical music into the twentieth century…this is interesting enough stuff to engage even the most jaded music fan.”—Dave Chamberlain, NewCity


“Peter Saltzman and The Revolution Ensemble have come up with the ultimate musical journey and experience on, Kabbalah Blues / Quantum Funk. The album finds the ensemble tapping into the groove of contemporary American urban music, the freedom and energy of Rock, the improvisational qualities of American Jazz, complex song structure and marvelous tonal color of Classical music and the emotional qualities of Blues. The lyrics are expertly crafted representing American life and experiences in vibrant portions. This is an album which ultimately delivers mass doses of listening entertainment, which has so much going on that one will find something new to marvel at with each listen. A must have for the musician who starts thinking that it has all been done. This album proves, once and for all, there is much more that can be done if one knows what one is doing and is able to accomplish the technical portion. If one finds it too difficult to achieve a goal, sit back and listen to The Revolution Ensemble, it doesn’t get any better than this.” —DownEast Reviews

Composer and pianist Peter Saltzman resists classification, having gone to conservatories and written works that mix jazz, gospel, rock and classical elements…[his is] music of days to come: resolutely tonal, idiom-blending works that would win back listeners.”—Ted Shen, Chicago Tribune


There’s a musical revolution afoot and Peter Saltzman is leading the charge.”—Pioneer Press


Distinctive…memorable…Saltzman, along with [his] enthusiastic players, should be complimented for seriously rethinking how music is presented…Obviously, there’s an audience in Chicago interested in thinking about music in different ways.”—Wynne Delacoma, Chicago Sun-Times