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Liz Story - Part of Fortune
Sony Novus Label
Story studied classical piano while growing up in Southern California and even thought about becoming a music librarian or theorist for a while. Then she heard jazz pianist Bill Evans at a New York club, and the experience changed her perspective on music overnight. Story, who had studied at Juilliard and was enrolled at Hunter College at the time, abandoned her academic program in favor of jazz lessons with Sanford Gold, a teacher Evans had recommended. Back in Los Angeles, she continued her musical education at UCLA and the Dick Grove Music Workshops, but it was a job playing piano at a French restaurant that sparked her major breakthrough as a composer. Since the front casing of the piano was missing, Story had no place to put her sheet music and was forced to improvise freely. Eventually, she put some of her spontaneous compositions on tape and sent them to Windham Hill. Within four days, Will Ackerman had called her back and the contract was signed for her first release, Solid Colors, an album of impressionistic piano miniatures. Over the course of five recordings, including a two-album stint with RCA Novus, Story's style has expanded to include electronic duets with Mark Isham and works for various types of ensembles, yet the piano remains the prominent voice in her finely crafted compositions.
1. Toy Soldiers
2. The Elephant Trainer
3. Teased Hair
4. Myth America
5. Part Of Fortune
9. Ubi Caritas
On several tracks of this label debut, Story experiments with added instrumentation — percussion, a cello, strings, a choir — giving her music a more formal cast that does not reduce its attraction.
This was the first CD that Liz released after leaving Windham Hill. She had just released two gread albums (Solid Colors and Unaccountable Effect) and Sony, quick to see a musical trend in the making decided to launch their New Age Novus label by hiring Liz away from Windham Hill. The results are mixed but the vast bulk of the disk is outstanding. The production value is higher. There are more instruments and arrangements. But at times I have felt that Liz got a bit lost in the mix on her two Sony releases. Ther are some very good tracks on the Sony discks (and stuff that still shows up on her concerts and her most recent Greatest Hits CD "Pure Liz Story" that came out in 2006. Since her stay with Sony only lasted for two CDs and after that they pretty much went out of print, some of these tracks have been lost for 20 years.