While there’s no disputing the fact that Rachel Grimes is a remarkable pianist and a first-rate composer, be advised that you’ll need to be in the right frame of mind when spinning her latest solo album “The Clearing.” Grimes is best known for her work in chaber-rock ensemble Rachel’s and continues in that vein on the 11-track instrumental platter.
It’s a lovely, but decidedly mellow gathering of tunes that won’t get your pulse racing. That said, it is possible to get swept away by Grimes and her talented cadre of accompanying musicians. Most impressive are saxophonist Jacob Duncan, who shines brightest on “The Herald” and “Further Foundation”; and violinist Adriane Tilanus, who helps Grimes make the eight-minute title track the highlight of the entire album
Grimes & Co. also soar on “In the Vapor With the Air Underneath,” “Transverse Plane Horizontal” and “The Air at Night.” “The Clearing” clocks in at a reasonable 42 minutes, but feels longer, and requires the listener to really invest in the compositions in order to get something out of the music. (Jeffrey Sisk)