Jason Boyd is unsigned. You probably won’t find his name on any music review site and as far as I know he doesn’t really play in public(?). There are things under damp logs which are more famous. How do I know about him? He’s my A-level music technology teacher. Even then, he never mentioned this album in class; I found out from the college bulletin under the tag-line: “Ideal for winding down after a hard day at work”. That slogan should be left for bath salts and scented candles alone and it doesn’t do ‘Storyteller’ any justice. Basically, Jason’s (yes, I can call him Jason) manifesto is to keep it simple. The “Beauty Through Simplicity” quote on the front sums it up rather nicely. These are nine solo piano pieces which are as stimulating as they are simple. Each is like a different painting, evoking unusually strong imagery. ‘Reflections’ is a growing deluge of rain on a smooth river; ‘Echoes of Time’ is like falling asleep slumped against the wall of a house you used to live in, while ‘Distant Star’ is like slowly drifting out of orbit while the sun expands and engulfs the planet. I’d almost say that he’d be brilliant at writing film scores, but the film is already here and while I’m not an expert on solo piano albums (I only own three others), very few records in my collection house imagery as vivid as this one. The pieces are also surprisingly distinct, and the more you hear them, the more individual they sound.
Though I wasn’t entirely sure at first, I have really warmed to this album and you may be thinking I’m biased since he’s my teacher, or ill-informed since I don’t own Keith Jarrett’s back catalogue, but the fact is ‘Storyteller’ achieves exactly what it set out to do: beauty through simplicity. Technical complexity is not an issue; it’s atmosphere and strength of composition that matters here and this has got it in spades. And before you ask, no, I’m not giving this a positive review because my coursework is looking a little dog-eared; this is what I think – and I like it. A lot.
Listen to this: alone.
Key track: The Promise