Charlie Dennard, Sozinho (Independent)

Charlie Dennard is a New Orleans native who splits his time between the Crescent City and Cirque de Soleil. With Sozinho, he’s recorded one of the most elegant solo piano albums to come out of New Orleans in recent memory. He’s gone for the ECM vibe here, both in the design of the package (somber and gray) and the composers covered: Keith Jarrett, Pat Metheny, Denny Zeitlin, and Bill Evans, a grandfather of the ECM sound. There’s also a healthy dollop of Braziliana, with the title (meaning “alone”), and three tunes by André Mehmari, an important young Brazilian pianist/composer. Very little rhythmic flash here; it’s more about harmonic richness with a piano that’s very rarely recorded this well here in town.

This is a disc where subdued and gracious beauty abounds.

—Tom McDermott