There is a lovely and gentle new album, OPENINGS, by solo pianist Nick DeCesare. The music fits best in the new age music genre, but there are elements inherent that you might feel reflect his classical and jazz training.

According to his bio, “While DeCesare has been composing and playing solo piano music since high school, and part of his collegiate studies included classical music, he is most strongly versed in traditional jazz which he studied and avidly performed in college and after graduating. DeCesare has studied the styles of many of the jazz master pianists/composers such as Keith Jarrett, Oscar Peterson, Bud Powell, McCoy Tyner, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Kenny Kirkland and Brad Mehldau, but also admires the recordings of new age pianists Michael Dulin and Christian Lindquist.”

DeCesare has the most important elements for any solo pianist. He writes nicely melodic pieces and he performs them with verve, fluidity and deep feeling. He has a well-coordinated left-hand which is vital to keep things interesting in the solo piano business. He can play slow, gentle and meditative (“Sanctuary,” “Lullabye,” “Morning”) or he can make the music more joyful and uplifting (“Grace Rapids,” “In Love,” “Joy,” “Ocean Waltz”).

This is an excellent debut recording showing much talent, fairly well-formed and developed, but with room for growth. This one is worth checking out now, but it also entices us to keep an eye on this performer to see where he heads next.