Gary Noland, a composer and pianist with an impressive academic pedigree (including a Ph.D. from Harvard) and extensive performing experience, here presents an album of solo piano compositions, or "interludes". Actually, some of these pieces seem in no way transitory; instead, they present extended musical dialogues that call upon a host of musical styles and require considerable technical facility to perform. Noland, a fleet-fingered, ebullient performer, is more than up to the task.
Pastiche pieces like "Mumbo Gumbo" and "Expresso Wagon" evoke all manner of Romantic era classical piano figurations; they gently lampoon some of the genre's conventions, but always remain bright, witty and engaging. "The Temptation of Saint Floyd" also channels Romanticism, particularly the Straussian sort, demonstrating a more reflective demeanor and adding a dollop of schmaltz to the proceedings. "Push Button Fingers" is prevailingly modern in construction, with syncopated rhythms and sprightly, angular runs creating a far more contemporary sound world. Noland's work may be eclectic -- sometimes even a bit goofy -- but Interludes is cleverly constructed and consistently well performed.