Long before he was known for propelling such acts as The Civil Wars to super-stardom with as the astute producer behind ‘Barton Hollow’, for one, Charlie Peacock was known in the jazz community as a prolific and mellifluous pianist and composer. With his second album since his return to crafting out his solo career after 15 years of astutely tackling other projects with much success, Peacock takes on the greatest imaginative feat of his piano-playing career with an album full of improvisations. “Lemonade” is the product of the very tip-top of a man’s intrinsically, expertly musical mind and, thusly, a grand showing of Peacock’s pure talent as an instrumentalist in its rawest form. There is a reason why he is so renowned as a producer and as a force in the modern jazz industry, and his latest proves exactly why that is in a number of ways with each one being even more beautiful in its natural delivery than the last.
Not just any individual- not even one with bonafide talent -can deliver an entirely improvised album. For most, it would end up as a meticulously-designed disaster overwrought with wrong key changes and a terrible try at telling a story more jaunty and over-baked than a child’s first attempt at making gingerbread men. For Peacock, though, it comes naturally and flows as warmly as maple syrup. In fact, that’s a great, cheesy comparison here; Peacock’s mind is the sugary sweet condiment, and his piano keys act as the scrumptious stack of pancakes upon which the syrup drizzles down from the top to the very bottom. What it makes for, then, is the greatest stack of pancakes you’ll ever have.
It’s almost a crime to hand Peacock a score as I would any other artist in an album review with work as consistently resplendent and timeless as his. The man has proven himself time and time again to be beyond the grading scale; he is simply the best at what he does and has been the best at it for a very long time. With that said, it should be obvious what score will be plastered in big, black, bold Arial font at the end of this review. What Peacock has done here was transcend all else he has ever done by creating a master-craft art piece straight from off of the top of his head, and as he heads into his next collaborative project, “Lemonade” will serve as a staunch reminder as to why he is where he is in the industry now, and just why it is all well-deserved.
You can purchase “Lemonade” for $9.99 on iTunes while keeping up with Charlie through his Facebook and Twitter pages. For all of the latest music reviews, follow me on Twitter.