Pianist Uri Caine represents the true potential of the modern musician. His ability to play different types of music, from sambas to hip-hop, is rooted in his jazz pedigree. He's taken on the works of Mahler and Bach, and with this CD, he tackles Beethoven's Diabelli Variations
with the chamber orchestra Concerto Köln. The disc was recorded in Germany, and Caine plays an 1838 Erard fortepiano. On the 33 variations, he moves between the classical and jazz pianistic traditions with ease. On Variations V, XVI, and XXIII, Caine drops stride, ragtime, and boogie-woogie lines into the mix. Variations IX and XI also include habanera syncopations and a sly quote from Bud Powell's bop number "Parisian Thoroughfare." In the hands of an amateur, this project would sound like a bad example of Third Stream music, but Caine's encyclopedic knowledge, humor, and ingenuity make the marriage of these great art forms sound natural. --Eugene Holley Jr.