Bill Anschell recorded his newest album ‘Figments’ by himself, mostly late at night after gigs. The beauty of a solo piano album is its ability to be free as it lacks any constraints that might be inherent while playing with a group. Anschell, an established composer, uses the freedom of solo piano to explore some of his favorite songs by other composers. Abstractly winding his way through jazz standards and pop songs Anschell provides an interesting and accessible album without compromising the freedom that is given when recording a solo record.
Although Anschell only covers songs on this album his improvisations are stretched out. His spacing makes time signatures feel insignificant. But coming through the abstractness Anschell gets to play with, one can pick out the melody of Joni Mitchell’s famous song “Big Yellow Taxi” or Cole Porter’s “My Heart Belongs to Daddy.” The music on ‘Figments’ is a selection of Anschell’s favorite songs from now and when growing up. ‘Figments’ touches on standards like “Willow Weep For Me” and Honeysuckle Rose” while also hitting pop songs like “Despardo” and “Ask Me Why.” Regardless of whatever previous genre each song was prescribed Bill Anschell turned each into his own piece of improvised music.
‘Figments’ is abstract, free, and accessible. It offers the listener a personal view of Bill Anschell’s musical mind as his solo piano takes listeners through a mix of standards, classic rock, and even pop. All around a very good album worthy of any one’s time and ears.