Conrad Gayle is a pianist from Toronto who plays both jazz and religious music. Actually, to be more accurate, he plays jazz that is influenced by his religious beliefs, infusing spirituality into each phrase that he creates. Genesis is a four-song EP in which the pieces, while standing alone, when grouped together form a suite.
The opening “Genesis” begins with some explorative piano before evolving into a percussive blues. While the dense chord voicings recall McCoy Tyner in places, the pianist also displays his own style and creates a logical solo.
“Improvisation on Canon in D” features Gayle taking a familiar classical melody by Johann Pachabel, playing it straight at first, and then improvising melodically while retaining the theme’s essence. His “Mother’s Song” begins where “Canon in D” left off, using a different melody but a similar feeling that builds throughout the performance. The closing “Hallelujah Adonai,” which is a logical outgrowth of “Mother’s Song,” features Conrad Gayle not only taking a strong solo but accompanying his own effective spiritual singing.
All in all, Genesis is a strong statement from the up-and-coming pianist.
Scott Yanow, author of ten books including Trumpet Kings, The Jazz Singers, Jazz On Film and Jazz On Record 1917-76