Dave Meder, “The Old Rugged Cross” from ‘Passage’ (2018): Something Else! video premiere

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Feature photo: Jess Carlton

Dave Meder is an up-and-coming piano whiz who has already collected more than a few bonafides. A protégé of Marcus Roberts and Jean-Michel Pilc, Meder is currently a finalist for next year’s Cole Porter Fellowship of the American Pianists Association and had just moved into the semifinal round of the Thelonious Monk Competition being held this December. This twenty-eight year old Julliard grad is also the youngest piano professor at the University of North Texas prestigious jazz program.

So far, so good, right?

But one feather not yet in Meder’s cap is leading and releasing a recording date. That’s going to be rectified in February 2019 with the arrival of his debut album Passage. This will feature the talents of some jazz stars he met during his time in New York, such as Chris Potter and Miguel Zenón; however, this album is meant to reveal to the world the talented multifaceted artist that is Dave Meder.

“The Old Rugged Cross,” premiering in the video above, reveals a facet of Meder as that boy playing piano in a church in his native Florida. George Bennard’s century-old gospel tune has been covered since the mid-20th century by countless country artists from Ernest Tubbs to Willie Nelson but Meder’s jazzier treatment shows just how transcendent the song really is. Aided by Kush Abadey on drums and Tamir Shmerling on bass, Meder is keeping very much with the gospel feel. And that’s whether he renders it in a solemn fashion at the start or tears off into an RnB styled romp where he slips in some of his jazz chops before downshifting back into a graceful ending. Regardless of which gear Meder is in, there’s an authenticity to his piano that can’t be schooled.

“The Old Rugged Cross” will be included on Passage, which is forthcoming on the Outside In Music label.


S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is an SQL demon for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on jazz.com, AllAboutJazz.com, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. E-mail him at [email protected] .com or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SVictorAaron
S. Victor Aaron
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