Reviewed by Jay Trachtenberg, Fri., June 18, 2004
Edward HobizalAnamnesis (Boundless Music)
Every time you turn around it seems like Edward Hobizal pops up. The Houston-bred local pianist can be found spicing up female jazz vocal trio the Beat Divas, adding his percussive touch to Strings Attached, or being lauded in a phone interview recently with Bad Plus pianist Ethan Iverson. Let's not forget his third place finish in the very prestigious Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition some years back. Hobizal's all-too-brief EP last year only whet appetites for more of his evocative pianistics. Anamnesis is a tongue-twisting term meaning a recalling of memory, and as the title infers, the music is intimate and at times even oddly sentimental, as if Hobizal is sharing fragments of previously lost but now retrieved inner secrets. This set of 10 original compositions is impressionistic in tone and thoughtful in mood, not unlike the spare, introverted piano showcases on the ECM label. If anything, the album could stand a bit more variety. There's nothing like the lilting swing Hobizal demonstrates so convincingly on a tune like "Poinciana" from the EP. The dynamics here are far more subtle, the ambience more serene. The strongest tracks, opener "Anticipation" and also "Ecossaise," stand out because they differ, at least tempo-wise, from the deliberate pace of most of the selections. But there's no denying Hobizal has cast a spell of uncommon beauty with Anamnesis. There hasn't been a local jazz release quite like this one in terms of refinement and grace.