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Vana: Small Regrets

- CD Reviews

Vana: Small Regrets
1999 Avenue C Records
Werner “Vana” Gierig on Piano and Percussion
(See Another Vana Gierig CD Review)
Rocky Bryant on Drums
Marcus McLaurine on Bass

Special Guests: Mayra Casales on Percussion; Mohammed Ali on Percussion; Heike Bachman on Radio Newscasting Voice;
Manfred Knoop’s Children’s Choir; Ed Cavalcanti DJ Scratching

Dr. Roberta E.Zlokower
February 20, 2006

This is another bundle of blazing Brazilian compositions and arrangements by pianist, Vana Gierig, who has assembled exotic percussion, New York subway sounds, a children’s choir, and even faux radio voices. Manfred Knoop, now owner of TWINZ records and the producer of many of Gierig’s current events, collaborated on this project. Gierig recently opened the – A. C. Pianocraft, Inc. Piano-Plus Jazz Series with a Brazilian flourish equal to that found on the following tracks.

Notable tracks:

#3 –Small Regrets – With a charming children’s choir in two lovely passages, Gierig adds Casales on quica and some electric keyboard effects. This music is nurturing and nuanced, and Gierig’s piano performance is persuasive and pulsating. Rocky Bryant and Marcus McLaurine on drums and bass create a great backdrop to the cultural infusion.

#6 – Bäumchen-Little Tree (Part II) – Mayra Casales and Gierig are featured on this track, with danceable Samba or Rumba rhythms. The Latin percussion elevates the piece to a fascinating fusion, and Gierig seals himself as a superb arranger as well as composer/pianist.

#9 – New Yorkin’ – One of my favorite tracks, this composition has Heike Bachmann as a news radio voice on a subway, after some natural noise. Gierig is featured with drummer, Bryant, and percussionist, Mohammed Ali, in a repetitive, mesmerizing theme, against this urban and aural backdrop.

#10 – Visions of Brazil – Assistance by Carol Chaikin. With added keyboard enhancements, Gierig’s piano soars consistently above drums and bass, and this piece, evocative of Brazil, has incandescence and intensity. This CD is one not to put high on the shelf, as it’s more interesting on each hearing.

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For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at