Picks and Pans Review: If I Could Be with You

updated 09/20/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/20/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Marcus Roberts

Some pianists dazzle you with speed. Roberts can play as fast as anyone, but what puts him in a class by himself is his depth. Part of that involves the orchestral richness of his sound, the fullness of each note, even if that note is placed as delicately as a cat's paw on the lip of a bathtub. But what really sets the 30-year-old apart is the investigative passion and architectural imagination he brings to every song. In this, his sixth solo piano project, Roberts's gift for transforming such songs as Cole Porter's "What Is This Thing Called Love," Gershwin's "Embraceable You" and Ellington's "Mood Indigo" is matched by his ability to make his own brimming compositions sound as if they have always existed, and always will. (RCA)

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