Charlie Dennard, Melodias (Independent)

Dennard, a New Orleans pianist who nevertheless makes most of his living on the road with Cirque du Soleil, has put out a curious disc here. It’s an ECM-like album with strong Brazilian overtones. Six of the 12 tracks are composed by Brazilians, and three of the composers have recorded for ECM. This is not the world of samba and straight-ahead jazz swinging, but of handsome balladry. 

When Dennard goes out of these worlds, (a straight recording of Robert Schumann’s “Träumerei” and Horace Silver’s “Peace”) the results are similarly muted and satisfying. This is one of those rare albums that can be listened to as background music or with scrutiny: it’s neither jarring, nor is it dull when you put in under the magnifying glass. A welcome follow-up to his haunting Sozinho disc.