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Pianist Lewis Porter Truly Goes Solo

After flirting with a career in psychology, Lewis Porter, the jazz educator and pianist, turned to music full time during his twenties. But if his new album, Solo Piano (Next To Silence), is any indication, Porter, 67, has not lost his psychologist’s passion for exploring states of consciousness.

“Ragtime Dream,” one of six originals on the album, is a case in point. The song is distinguished by a precisely balanced, purposefully disorienting bitonality—the left hand sketches ragtime chords in one key, while the right hand counters with a melody in another—that conjures an improbable pianistic hybrid of James P. Johnson-meets-Paul Bley. Tellingly, the tune came to Porter in his sleep.

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