Josh Nelson's The Sky Remains is an unusual tribute to Los Angeles. It pays homage to L.A.'s rich architectural history, much of which has disappeared due to the demolition of historic buildings through the years. The title "The Sky Remains" refers to the fact that at least the sky has not been destroyed.
The pianist composed and arranged ten originals which form a suite. He pays tribute to the bridges of L.A., the architects, a Civil Rights worker, TIKI culture, P.O.P. (Pacific Ocean Park), and the many stairways in steep neighborhoods. Nelson utilizes an ensemble comprised of trumpeter Chris Lawrence, Brian Walsh on clarinet and bass clarinet, altoist-flutist Josh Johnson, guitarist Anthony Wilson, bassist Alex Boneham, drummer Dan Schnelle and percussionist Aaron Serfaty plus occasionally Larry Goldings on organ. The voices of Kathleen Grace and Lillian Sengpiehl are used as part of the ensembles (quite effectively on "Bridges and Tunnels") with Ms. Grace being featured on three numbers where she displays an attractive voice while singing fairly straight.
The moody and often melancholy suite, which has some fine solos along the way plus an excellent tradeoff between Nelson's piano and Anthony Wilson's guitar on "Bridges and Tunnels," holds one's interest throughout. Most memorable is the dramatic "On The Sidewalk," the celebratory "Ah Los Angeles," the Latin jazz of "Lost Souls Of Saturn," and "Pacific Ocean Park" which sounds like an old-time party.
While Josh Nelson takes some fine piano solos, The Sky Remains makes the case that perhaps his greatest talent is his writing. The fine outing is available from www.originarts.com .