Perhaps the hook of interest to the just released 20th album from keyboardist-composer-producer Dan Siegel is that his cerebral compositions masterfully crafted on “Indigo” with co-producer Brian Bromberg do not need sensationalism in order to thrive. The veteran artisan has been making sophisticated piano-driven contemporary jazz records for 35 years thus earning his fine reputation without gimmicks or pandering to the fickle nature of the audience’s passing fancy. Instead he sets the bar high and focuses his muse on making thinking man’s music. The collection’s ten fully orchestrated and deftly arranged live acoustic jazz constructs offer nimble piano and keyboard emotives and evocative melodies amplified by lush horns that certainly live up to that description.
Emerging only when he has something meaningful to share, “Indigo” is Siegel’s first outing in five years. The new set is being swiftly welcomed at contemporary jazz radio hungry for high-quality music. It opens with the sweeping “To Be Continued” on which Siegel receives as adept assist from the impassioned sax play of Bob Sheppard. Mike Miller joins the fray on “By Chance” to add tasty jazz guitar licks to Siegel’s playful piano frolic. The title cut, a bit of a Wild West showdown, is punctuated by a gun slinging brass section and Allen Hinds’ unharnessed guitar shots placed adjacent to Siegel’s structured piano that seems to maintain some semblance of decorum. Contemplative by nature, “Beyond” explores an ambient expanse. Piano and sax swirl and swoon on the breezy “Far And Away.” Sheppard’s sax shadows Siegel’s poignant probings on “If Ever” before climaxing in an emotionally-wrought solo. Bromberg’s upright bass and drummer Will Kennedy (Yellowjackets) make the bluesy rhythm swing on “Spur Of The Moment” boosted by the horn section and another inspired Miller electric guitar improv. Gentle piano and sax radiate hope and promise amidst the pitter-patter brushed beats on “First Light.” The uplifting “Consider This” benefits from Siegel’s rousing and gregarious piano at the fore while “Endless” registers a resonant closing statement that lingers long after the final notes fade with dexterous bass and drum embellishments abound.
Siegel, a Eugene, Oregon native, is planning a series of spring concert dates in the Pacific Northwest after having showcased the album at a performance last month before an enraptured Southern California audience.