Solid Colors is the auspicious debut of Liz Story. In the wake of the massive success of George Winston’s December a river of cassette demo tapes that would have stretched around the world came pouring into William Ackerman’s Palo Alto PO Box 9388. Liz Story’s recording was the beautiful bucket drawn from the torrent.
Rich, dense, and impressionistic – but always still pretty – Story draws from jazz, particularly as expressed by pianist Bill Evans, in much the same way as George Winston drew from folk. Liz Story’s style has continued to develop over the years. She continues to record, and each release deserves close listening.
The recording quality, as always, is excellent, with Story’s rich harmonics lovingly presented, and while the vinyl is the standard, even the CD transfer holds up well.
Solid Colors is a must-have recording for any fan of piano jazz, new age music, or Windham Hill.
Here’s the review I wish that I had written, by James Rotundi from Amazon: Story’s remarkable 1983 debut is the intellectual sister of Winston’s December–a discursive series of solo piano improvisations that draw on the rich jazz harmony of pioneers like Bill Evans, Story’s acknowledged chief inspiration. Yet Colors is almost minimalist next to Evans’s more densely textured works–a spacious blend of polychords, breezy runs, and finely timed sustenutos, with an accessible spirit and memorable melodies–like the uplifting figure she plays over a simple descending bassline in “Hymn,” or the indelible major-key main theme of “Things with Wings.” More economical than Keith Jarrett, more florid and changeable than Winston, Story finds a compelling middle ground here between jazz harmony and classical technique, outside improv and sturdy songcraft, complex performance and inner stillness. –James Rotondi
Liz Story can be found on the web:
Things with Wings
SIDE ONE: 20:23
- Wedding Rain 5:44
- Pacheco Pass 3:05
- Without You 4:29
- Hymn 4:17
- Things With Wings 2:48
SIDE TWO: 20:09
- Solid Colors 4:36
- Bradley’s Dream 4:43
- White Heart 2:12
- Water Caves 3:07
- Peace Piece* 5:31
- Produced by William Ackerman
- Engineered by Stephen Miller
- Second Engineer: Karen Kirsch
- Recorded at Different Fur Recording, San Francisco, CA
- Original Half-Speed Mastering by Jack Hunt, JVC Cutting Center, Hollywood, CA
- Matrix and Pressings by Record Technology Inc., Camarillo, CA
- Design by Anne Ackerman
- Cover Painting “Unaccountable Bluish Glow” by Michael S. Moore
- Liner Photo by Anne Ackerman
- All Compositions by Liz Story except where noted
- All Selections Windham Hill Music (BMI) except where noted
- *Peace Piece is Acorn Music (BMI), Composed by Bill Evans
- Manufactured by Windham Hill Records
- A Division of Windham Hill Productions Inc.
- Box 9388, Stanford, CA 94305
- (c) (p) Windham Hill Records, 1982
- This recording was made direct to two-track using a Studer A80 VU MKIII half-inch recorder at 30 inches per second through a Harrison board. No noise reduction, limiting or compression was used. KEF speakers were used for audio monitoring and referencing on this reecording.
- Our thanks to Steven Miller for his many contributions in production.
- Without You is for Terry.
- Peace Piece is a homage to its composer, Bill Evans.
4 Replies to “WH 1023 Liz Story Solid Colors”
Yes, this is an absolutely beautiful album. Her next release, “Unaccountable Effect”, where she collaborated with Mark Isham on synthesizer on two tracks, is an ambient classic and quite possibly her best work.
You mention that Liz Story is still active. I’ve only seen compilations since “17 Seconds To Anywhere”. Does she have new, original material out?
Once I heard Will Ackerman talk about the company around the time this was released. He said that lots of people had sent him recordings of their music which sounded a great deal like George Winston (and had been rejected as they already “had” a George Winston). But this record was different. And that’s why they signed Ms. Story.
She’s great. These first two albums are amazing and I return to them again and again. More recently, My Foolish Heart, a jazz standards cover album, is very warm and engaging. I also love Aaberg’s High Plains and Out of the Frame.
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