There are all kinds of instrumental pianists out there these days -- classical, modern-classical, new age, jazz, noodlers, avant-garde or ambient, and even those that play a “prepared piano” or use different tunings than the standard. What about just an old-fashioned guy who plays the piano like we grew up hearing it, and who writes extremely catchy and beautiful melodies (and, should I even say it, melodies that sound like instant classics, the kind of thing you can imagine people listening to a hundred years from now). I am referring to Jim Pearce who has a new album out called, but what else, A PIANO STORY. Although there are classical, Broadway and cinematic elements mixed in, I would have to put the album in the new age bin where most contemporary instrumental piano music goes(that isn’t jazz). Speaking of jazz, I should mention that Pearce previously released seven jazz albums, but this newone is his first in this other vein. And while I am giving his back-story, you should know that this cat also has composed and recorded soundtrack contributions to at least 300 different TV shows (and some big ones like Saturday Night Live,The Voice,Inside Amy Schumer,Parenthood,The Mentalist,Empire,Daily Show with Trevor Noah,Blue Bloods,90210,The Affair,2016 Rio Olympics,Pawn Stars,The Tonight Show,American Pickers,The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,Lipstick Jungle,Last Call with Carson Dalyand Friends With Benefits).

Anyway, back to Pearce’s new CD (or digital download project if you are more new-school), it has a whopping 16 tunes, all of which are fairly short (rangin gin length from 1:32 to 4:17, but mostly in the two-and-a-half-minutes area). All of the melodies are pretty and easy-to-listen-to. Some are upbeat, others slower, some played forcefully and others delicate. He mixes it up. One is solo piano, but the rest have light instrumental backing that might be a synth-string-section or a cello or acouple of violins. But on occasion he throws in what could be oboes or English horns (never could tell those two apart). There also is a little percussion here and there, and maybe a bass (or bassoon?) once in awhile. All in all it makes for a very pleasant listening. You could definitely put this on at a dinner party or during a romantic interlude. I particularly liked “Deep In Your Eyes” with its pizzicato strings (OK, now I’m showing off). But seriously, with all the weird piano albums that find their way into the marketplace, it is exceedingly refreshing to hear some gorgeous, highly-melodic, straight-forward piano music. Better than ice cream with sprinkles. Oh, what the heck, treat yourself to both simultaneously.