Sam Reider – Too Hot To Sleep

Album Review | Self Release | Review by Marc Higgins | Stars: 4/5

Sam Reider is a jazz pianist turned roots musician, son of a theatre composer and Klezmer musician. Following a series of midnight sets at a bar in Brooklyn, Reider found himself suffering from insomnia. With fragments of melodies running through his head he would play the piano. Conjuring endless images Too Hot to Sleep is the resulting album, earworm tunes and melodies, a soundtrack to the quiet of the night. The albums starts strongly, first track The Murder drips suspense and tension. Moody black and white Parisian crime drama soundtrack, all trilby hats, turned up collars and curling smoke. Except the cafe with the moody detectives is on an American windswept prairie in a Sergio Leone Western. After the frantic city bustle of “Swamp Dog Hobble”, “The Moment After”, is a pensive beautiful piano piece shimmying between genres. Sam Reider, like Italian Ludovico Einaudi, has a sensitive style that is classical, with enough swing to be dinner jazz. The track is grounded by the gritty saxophone and violin choruses. Wanderings is Reider at his most romantically expressive. A hesitant piano with an eerie two note sonar like motif opens the track, there is a beautifully sad middle section with elements of Thelonious Monk’s keyboard wanderings around the beat. Eddie Barbash’s Alto Saxophone playing is breathy and simply divine. The title track is another other worldly piece which finds Reider as his most Ellingtonian, duetting with Barbash’s Johnny Hodges or ‘Getzy’ alto. “Too Hot to Sleep” is simply stunning, one to get utterly lost in. Across two parts “Lazy Together” starts as a loping meander across the prairie then becomes a sublime piano and guitar duet. The piano has the flavour of a sitar or Kora and the whole thing has a transcendental feel. One of many album highlights this is for lovers of Bill Evans. “Late Twenties Lament”, sounds like a vamp on “Brother Can You Spare a Dime” a wonderful piece of 78 era swing. Album closer “Baku” has a gypsy jazz flavour, j with the sound of the keys on the accordion and the saxophone echoing each other. This track builds to a furious closer, you can imagine the band moving and grinning to each other as they play, I bet this is a stormer live. Fast or slow this album is going to tax, or delight people who like to classify. Is it Country, Folk, Classical or Jazz? The only is yes, yes it’s all of those, sometimes at the same time and glorious because of it. One of the most exciting and interesting things I have heard in ages.