Aug 3, 2017
It was about 18 months ago that I spoke with pianist-singer Ariel Pocock (check Podcast 505) about her long-delayed first album, Touchstone. A graduate of the prestigious University of Miami Frost School of Music and a double-award winner at the Essentially Ellington Competition at Lincoln Center for Outstanding Pianist and Outstanding Vocalist, Ariel and her first album showed real promise, and I was pleased when Living in Twilight (Justin Time Records) came across my desk.
The album shows her growth as a pianist, as she leads a working trio composed of Jim Doxas (drums) and Adrian Vedady (bass) through jazz standards, pop covers, and a few originals as well. If her singing is not on par with her ability on the keys – she flexes some muscle on Fender Rhodes as well as piano – that’s a small criticism for a 24 year old just coming into her own. Whether it’s rearranged takes on “So in Love” and “The Very Thought of You;” originals like “Gonzalo’s Melody” (a shout-out to the great Cuban pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba); her take on tunes by pop singers Adele and Sufjan Stevens; or Brasilia-tinged numbers like “Saudações”, Ariel has put together an album that shows she’s ready to take her talents to the next level.
Podcast 585 is my conversation with Ariel, featuring musical selections “Gonzalo’s Melody,” “500 Miles High,” “Saudações,” and “Someone Like You".