Rantala’s tribute to John Lennon, entitled after one of his most known songs is something special. I know Rantala’s music well and I am familiar with his other recording for ACT and before. That includes his previous solo piano recording lost heroes, which also is a tribute, but dedicated to many, not single personalities.
With his eloquence, classical education, and flirts with a pop music over two last decades he clearly established his reputation as a man who can play everything. From concert with heavy metal band to classical repertoire, from Bach, through Mozart to Sibelius. He has specific talent to merge to other people music unlike anyone else. Or simply adopt his playing to whatever comes as music is simply MUSIC for him, despite the genres. Those are for critics, like me.
As he proved himself so many times before I had no doubt that this recording will be nothing but sensation. And it simply is. What makes it special, on every occasion, not just here is his respect for the music he plays and adores. This is where his special talent comes from. He simply does not want to change anything. He has this rare capability to drop his EGO and adopt himself to the music endlessly. The rest just comes naturally.
Once he is in he starts to explore the theme, finding ways to show the best of it. And this is it. Hence natural beauty of the melody and honest simplicity of Lennon’s tunes are treated with an incredible respect. He is building up between melody lines, like in Norwegian Wood, before bringing the theme to your ears and makes it recognisable. Shows what no one else have seen before.
You want another example? Help, everyone can hum this, but not many can find entire blues and buggy scales between the lines and bring it to people’s attention, still didn’t dropping single note from the song.
Another? Woman: this other way naturally dance track makes you swing. Here it starts from heavy left hand clusters which are showing that the tune is nothing but the blues. Step by step it takes listener to the dance-floor without scarifying anything. More of that he is showing such a lot between that it is fascinating to listen to the way he delivers it.
Or Imagine, to take it to the extreme. This is sacred tune and for many equally important as religion. Here main theme again comes veiled in little fiesta rhythm, from which the tune just blossoms in the blink of an eye into fully grown flower. With a bit of Jarrett-ish expressive intro, which still gets back to the core, just after raising culmination.
No point describing them all. That would be just boring and listening to this project is anything like that. That’s the music which needs to be experienced, not just heard, to be understood and fully appreciated.
Bite by bite, tune after tune. And over and over again. There is enough capacity in it to keep you entertained for long. And winter did not even started yet.