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Rhythm & Views

Arthur Migliazza

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Boogie-woogie music has the distinction of being a vanishing genre that nevertheless has exerted considerable influence over much contemporary music--from blues to jazz to rock.

Pianist Arthur Migliazza, 24, a fixture in local music circles since he played the Tucson Blues Festival as an 11-year-old wunderkind, has been keeping the boogie-woogie flame alive and aspiring to carry it in new directions. With his new debut CD, the classically trained Migliazza pays homage to classic boogie while carefully displaying a nascent personal style.

If Arthur Migliazza were a vinyl LP, the first side would feature styles that have influenced the pianist, as illustrated by his inspired interpretations of standards such as "Georgia on My Mind" and "Willow Weep for Me." A requisite strong left hand drives the rhythms, while Migliazza improvises on the familiar melodies with verve and wit. Side Two introduces listeners to Migliazza the composer, by way of six short tracks, some only a minute long and most of them likable mood pieces that have yet to be developed beyond being sketches. "Waiting," though, uses a dark, repeated piano figure and some hypnotic drumming to create a cool blues-trance hybrid.

The most fully realized originals here are the loping, elegant stride of "Tucson Groove" and the melancholic "Walk Alone." Although his explosive piano playing rightly is the center of attention, Migliazza's voice shows promise as well.

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