Kev Castle Review
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“Face To Face” by Tom Bell.

Review by Kev Castle, Nottingham Hospitals Radio

The album is a fusion of classical and boogie woogie piano. Nothing new there as throughout the years artists like B Bumble and the Stingers, Jools Holland and even Liberace have fused the two musical genres.

Unfortunately for the listening public who, like me enjoy listening to both genres, the CD releases for music like this are few and far between, so Tom’s CD is not only welcome but another blast of fresh air.

It takes a certain talent to mix any two musical styles and not spoil or dilute either, as well as create a piece of work that is not only different to the original but still recognisable to the origin. Tom has done this with his choices.

The tracks range from sublime (“Sunday Morning Blues”/ “Moonlight Sonata”) to the raucous boogie woogie, of which there are several examples on this CD.

There’s a mix of blues piano/boogie tracks written by boogie woogie piano legends such as Meade Lux Lewis and Pinetop Smith, who incidentally died at the incredibly young age of 25, To classical composers such as Chopin and Beethoven. One of my all time favourite pieces of classical music has always been “Moonlight Sonata” by Beethoven and the twist here is just enough to retain the original beauty, but also to make it fresh to the ear.

Interspersed with the aforementioned great names, Tom has written a couple of tracks which blend in with the whole feel of the album. You can feel the emotion and love Tom has for his music just by listening to the tracks.

A talented pianist, writer and arranger, this is a CD that I’ll be playing for a long while. Whether you’re a classics fan, a blues fan, a boogie piano fan or even a jazz fan, i think there’s something here for everyone who likes classy piano music, played superbly.