Evensong: Seven Songs for Piano
With most music, it’s not the technical or musical prowess that moves, it’s the ability of the artist to strike a chord. Scott Lamps is primarily known for his bass playing, stand-up bass to be more precise. Here he turns in seven concise solo piano pieces on a release that plays in under twenty-five minutes. The technique won’t dazzle, the composition won’t even surprisingly enlighten. What Lamps does have is the ability to convey, the illusive gift that allows a person like Bob Dylan to be a great singer though few would credit him for being a great singer.
Lamps walked away with the Classical Song and Classical Album of the Year Awards at the 2010 Madison Area Music Awards. The few entries in that category only emphasizes the lack of classical recordings being produced in the city. These are not classical pieces per se, but “songs” as the title suggests. It is, therefore, quite easy listening and quite enjoyable.
Lamps’ style is identifiable by his use of arpeggios, primarily in the left hand. The emphasis is clearly on melody and feel as the opening title track suggest. “Kathleen” is a bit darker. “Paranoia” is like a scene from a play. A dance-like melody in ¾ gives way to an ominous, punctuated 4/4 theme before returning to the serenity of its opening.
Album closer “Hourglass” is most enjoyable. The arpeggio form returns but in phrases of varying length: 6 beats followed by 7, then another 7, and another, then 5. This random selection continues throughout as the chord changes suggest shifting moods.
Lamps is quite an ambitious fellow. You can find him supporting Anthony Lamarr, who just gave a stunning performance at the 2011 MAMAs, His 2010 theatrical cantata Evolution/ Creation (one of four theatrical works he has composed), a collaboration with visionary playwright Andrew Park, was nominated for five of Chicago theater’s Jeff Awards including “Best New Work” and “Best Musical Production.” Some of you remember him as a member of the Profits, a local pop group that had a huge following.
Whatever it is that Lamps does, he does with thought, care and elegance. He’s just one of many mega-talented Madisonians lurking in our midst.