Down Beat - 5/92, p.534 stars
- Very Good - "..This is a fluent, two-handed recital with harmonies and arpeggios spiraling up and fast-fingered runs criss-crossing each other...cooks with the force of a Peterson.."
Solo performer: John Hicks (piano).
Recorded live at Maybeck Recital Hall, Berkeley, California in August 1990. Includes liner notes by Larry Kelp.
The friendly wood-paneled interior of Maybeck Recital Hall in the Berkeley hills has inspired many pianists to reach beyond their usual limits in the real world outside; after a tentative start, John Hicks latches on tightly to his muse here. He is at his most emotionally affecting in John Coltrane's quietly aching "After the Rain." "Speak Low" takes off on flights of near ecstasy, and he crashes through excitingly convoluted takeoffs on Monk's "Rhythm-A-Ning" and Bud Powell's "Oblivion." Hicks contributes a single rollicking improvisation of his own, "Blues for Maybeck Recital Hall," amidst the program of pop and jazz standards and touching newer material like Billy Childs' "Heroes." Though not a consistently inspired concert, there are several stretches of truly breathtaking piano playing here, beautifully recorded as usual. ~ Richard S. Ginell