April 24, 2005

Wayne Bledsoe

Review: "Parts Unknown," Richard Trythall (Atopos); "Out of Bounds," Richard Trythall (

      Knoxville-born pianist Richard Trythall made waves early in his career, both for his extraordinary performances on piano and for his avant-garde classical compositions. More recently, he dedicated albums to the music of Charles Ives and Jelly Roll Morton.
     In the 1980s and early '90s, Trythall began recording original "new romantic" solo piano pieces. While Trythall's work appeared around the time that "new age" music was taking off, Trythall's didn't quite fit in. This was a pianist who wasn't coming from the Vince Guaraldi jazz school of playing. Despite a folksy tinge to some of the melodies, Trythall's references were classical, but loaded with soul that could communicate to fans of any style of music.
     Two new releases give listeners a chance to check out his undeservedly overlooked work. The disc "Out of Bounds" combines the albums "Mirage" (1989) and "Piano Solos" (1984).
Trythall's music is deep and emotional. "Insieme (Together)," from "Out of Bounds," feels like a complete journey in eight minutes. Throughout the disc, Trythall utilizes his mastery of the keyboard, but uses it to tap into emotions rather than just show off technique.
    "Parts Unknown" gathers together 12 previously unreleased compositions recorded from 1989 to 1991. The songs are denser and more complicated, with an even more classical edge, but just as beautiful.
      The discs may be difficult to find in local stores (the releases come from Italy, where Trythall has lived for the past 40 years), but are available at

Wayne Bledsoe may be reached at 865-342-6444 or He is also the alternating host of "All Over the Road" midnight Saturdays to 4 a.m. Sundays on WDVX-FM.
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