Although somewhat underrated, Richie Beirach is a consistently inventive pianist whose ability to play both free and with lyricism makes him an original. After studying classical piano, Beirach switched to jazz. He studied at Berklee and the Manhattan School of Music, and took lessons with Stan Getz, Dave Holland, and Jack DeJohnette. Beirach played electric piano while with Dave Liebman\'s Lookout Farm in 1974, but afterward mostly stuck to acoustic piano. He teamed up with Liebman on many occasions (including the early-\'80s group Quest) and has recorded frequently since the \'80s. Among his many jobs as a sideman were important stints with Getz, Lee Konitz, John Abercrombie, and Chet Baker, and Beirach has played music ranging from hard bop to totally free. His classical training can sometimes be heard in his more advanced improvisations, along with the sensitivity of a Bill Evans. ~ Scott Yanow, All Music Guide
Richard Beirach - Elm (1979)
Richard Beirach is one of the most brilliant — and overlooked — jazz pianists of our era, and this is probably his best album. Melodies like “Elm” are suffused with a particular kind of melancholy and mature reflection that’s hard to come by, even in jazz.
Here it is as an expensive Japanese import as it has never printed on cd by ECM but only as a Japanese edition.
In the ’70s, pianist Richard Beirach pioneered a distinctive type of ethereal jazz, characterized by lush, polytonal harmonies and frequent outbursts of angular, high-velocity lines that broke up the austere moods of his compositions. This beautiful trio outing with bassist George Mraz and drummer Jack DeJohnette is classic Beirach, and as apt an example of the “ECM sound” as one will find. The piano reverberates in concert hall fashion, even as the bass and drums interact with a looseness, and often an explosiveness, that is anything but cold and removed. There are only five tracks on Elm, but because each presents a different aspect of Beirach’s music, the album is satisfying and quite whole.
“Elm” proceeds with the melodic shape and rhythmic evenness of a classical etude (Brad Mehldau would write similar music some 20 years later), but the syncopated unison figure that occurs in the 15th bar of the form reminds listeners that they are squarely in modern jazz territory. The tune’s reharmonized coda is a masterful touch on Beirach’s part. At the time of its release, Elm represented an emerging new standard for modern piano trio music, and it remains every bit as valid and vital.
Richard Beirach: Piano
George Mraz: Bass
Jack DeJohnette: Drums
Recorded May 1979 at Tonstudio Bauer
Richard Beirach - Hubris (1978)
Hubris was Richie Beirach\'s masterwork, solo piano compositions spare and beautiful enough to break your heart, a pianistic approach not dissimilar to the way Charlie Haden plays bass. Long unavailable, this collection of quiet yet challenging pieces is a welcome import. Conjuring up the sweet & melencholy spirit of Bill Evans, Beirach reaches deep - each small song a polished gem, deeply moving without a hint of pretension or schmaltz. Intensely introspective and rich.
Beautiful E.C.M. recording... wonderful tone on that piano... clever titles
\"Sunday Song\"... guaranteed to brighten up what can be a very drab day.
All in all... if you like ole\' Jarrett, then this one might do it for you. And the cover artwork is suitably minimallistic. As a bonus.
Richard Beirach: Piano
1. Sunday Song
5. Future Memory
9. Invisible Corridor/Sunday Song - Monday
Recorded June 1977 at Tonstudio Bauer, Ludwigsburg.
Produced by Manfred Eicher
Scans and audiochecker logs included for the both releases.