Jeff Kallis wrote in JazzTimes of ‘the new blood with which John Stetch infuses jazz piano’ and ‘of his painterly skills as a composer’.
Critics and audiences alike echo those comments, as do bandleaders - when not leading his own groups Stetch is pianist in the important US Akira Tana-Rufus Reid band.
The work of this acclaimed New York-based Canadian breathes intelligent, warm life which is amply displayed in his second release for Rufus Records, Stetching Out. John Stetch moves from the quartet format of Carpathian Blues to piano trio where he convincingly takes on standards by Monk, Gershwin, Rodgers and Hammerstein et al (two performed solo) and also demonstrates that his four compositions are not out of their depth.
John Clare writes of him: ‘As a pianist, Stetch makes the instrument ring beautifully. He gets a very full sound without apparently feeling the need to bottom out or bash it. He can toss of brilliantly precise little hail storms and cascades in the treble without disturbing the solid chordal underpinning and the flowing time. His outstanding virtue, however, is an ability to mount extremely long, clear-headed lines - sometimes they seem endless - at any tempo. While the level of thoughtful invention is unflagging and the articulation apparently unflappable, these lines also develop considerable momentum. He can swing, he can groove. His style is fresh and contemporary, but drawn directly from the tradition’.
released March 30, 1998
John Stetch piano
Joe Martin acoustic bass
Falk Willis drums
Jeff Ballard drums
Tracks 1-5 recorded at CBC Montreal, Quebec 21 November 1995
Produced by Alain de Grosbois
Tracks 6-10 recorded at Systems II Brooklyn, New York 31 January-2 February 1996
Produced by John Stetch
Painting 'Figures and Shadows' by Dave Brewer 1994
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