TOM BELL

FACE TO FACE

Independent

Was not sure what to expect from this CD with it’s very plain cover image of the artist sitting and smiling at you from his arm chair as if going to conduct a seminar. Well in a way that is what he does BUT he uses his piano to do this and after several listens I must say he does it rather well indeed. (Just in case you wonder about the title it is nothing to do with the same by the Kinks.) For one so young he is rather accomplished on the ivories and only in his early twenties still. He has made quite a name for himself already and mixes the unlikely combinations of piano music so that if you are a fan of the classics, blues, boogie piano or even jazz, there should be something here for you if you like classy piano music, played with some gusto. The album is a collection of ten piano solos, yes just the piano! Tom gives us three Chopin pieces, one by Beethoven, four original Blues / boogie woogie numbers with one by Meade Lux Lewis and one by Pinetop Perkins. Bell is currently the only UK pianist to combine classical and blues/boogie-woogie in his concert repertoire so there are some entertaining nights in store if you go along. This is indeed a strange presentation but Tom makes it work even to this sceptic on first sight. Obviously preferring the Blues / Boogie content but also the chill and refinement of the classical pieces in contrast. The press information describes Tom as a young Jools Holland! I’m not sure if Jools would tackle this variety as well as young Tom has, maybe he should get him on ‘Later….’ and sit with him and ‘jam it’

Frank Leigh – Blues Matters Magazine