Pianist-composer Devin Farney creates music that is very difficult to classify since it reflects his wide range of interests and experiences in the music world. Classically trained, he earned his Masters in Music Composition from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. While based in San Francisco, he has performed in Europe and in many different setings. Farney has written for television, performed rock and commercial music, is an expert at employing electronics and is also a top-notch jazz improviser. Prior to recording Season Colors, he had released an EP and two full albums of original music.
On Seasonal Colors, Devin Farney plays all of the instruments. In addition to piano, electric piano, guitar, electric bass, drums and percussion, he utilizes synthesizers to achieve a variety of orchestral sounds including muted trumpet and trombone, and programming for the drums and some electronic beats.
Seasonal Colors is an EP with five selections that on a whole does a fine job of displaying some of Devin Farney’s musical talents. The opening “Alphabet Soup” starts out a bit rockish with some heavy rhythms. Soon an insistent bassline and a catchy rhythmic theme take the spotlight, only to give way to the sound of a classic jazz piano trio. The episodic piece builds up well, has a fine piano solo and includes a variety of colorful sounds.
“Waltz for Abbey” is a jazz waltz for the trio with electronics added to give the ensemble additional texture and density. This melodic piece could be adopted by other musicians for it has a memorable theme.
“Sink Or Swim” utilizes a ten-note downward figure at its beginning that is hinted at throughout the piece. The performance has a mysterious and dramatic feel to it, includes some walking bass, and goes through many different episodes during the intriguing journey.
“Maroon in Crimson” begins as a peaceful ballad with the electric piano and trumpet in the forefront. Its main theme pops up two-thirds of the way through the piece and it picks up steam before returning to its original mood.
The set concludes with “In Solidarity,” a menacing strut that is a little funky and has an ominous feel before resolving into a danceable closing vamp.
The unpredictable Seasonal Colors is quite enjoyable to listen to and an excellent outlet for Devin Farney and his creativity.
Scott Yanow, jazz journalist/historian and author of 11 books including Trumpet Kings, The Jazz Singers and Jazz On Record 1917-76