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Sam Reider - Petrichor (Slow & Steady)

12 July 2022

Pianist/composer Sam Reider has become best known for his work on a different style of keyboard: the accordion, with which he leads the bluegrass/jazz ensemble Human Hands. But the piano was his first love and inspiration, and to it he returns for his second solo album. Galvanized by his return to San Francisco after a decade in NYC and named after the word for the smell of earth after rain, Petrichor blends Redier’s influences – jazz, classical, stride – into a seamless whole that should give radio programmers fits. The bluesy “Emahoy” (named for Ethiopian composer/pianist/nun Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guébrou) doesn’t so much contrast with the classically-inclined “Panoramic Highway” or the standard-like ballad “Wandering Aengus,” for example, as it does put these different facets of the same diamond on display next to each other. That doesn’t mean this becomes some sort of various artists-style compilation conveniently created by one person, however – Reider’s sonorous melodies create a throughlline, no matter what aspect of his talent he explores, so his playing is instantly recognizable no matter what style he tweaks. That makes Petrichor a well-thought out, solidly performed and frequently gorgeous artistic statement.