There are expertly played jazz standards, like Ellington's "It Don't Mean a Thing," and classic blues, like Ma Rainey's "C. C. Rider." On an elegant "Amazing Grace," Lady Steinway exhibits an especially warm tone, demonstrating that this couple knows how to act in church, as well as in honky-tonks. The traditional Colombian folk melody "La Piragua," with its minor key and lush Latin harmonies, serves as a refreshing counterpoint to the angular jazz and blues voicings of most of the recording.
Nearly half the tunes are Mr. B originals, low-down to highbrow, rowdy to lustrous, raunchy to lilting. The CD closes with "Duffy's Prayer," an original with a melody so lyrical you can almost hear the words.
Mr. B has always loved his pianos. In the early days of his career he'd sometimes carry one up two flights of stairs so he would not have to rely on an inferior instrument. He's not going to do that with Lady Steinway. But we can be sure that this honeymoon bodes well for a long, happy, and productive marriage.
[Originally published in November, 2004.]