On her third solo album – and second collection of Grateful Dead covers – classical pianist Holly Bowling used overdubs for the first time, allowing her to improvise over her own improvisations.
This gives the all-instrumental Seeking all that’s Still Unsung a fuller sound than 2016’s Better Left Unsung and 2015’s Distillation of a Dream: The Music of Phish Reimagined for Solo Piano. And the music – and the listener – are the beneficiaries.
Spanning 11 tracks in 65 minutes, the album is heavy on the Dead’s most-famous segues such as “St. Stephen”->“The Eleven,” “China Cat Sunflower”->“I Know You Rider,” “Lost Sailor”->“Saint of Circumstance” and “Weather Report Suite, Prelude, Pt. I, Pt. II (Let it Grow).” “Sage and Spirit,” which was always an instrumental, and “Stella Blue” round out the record.
They’re all instantly recognizable, though “The Eleven” and “Rider” feature Bowling‘s loosest interpretations of the Dead’s arrangements.
Whether it’s the overdubs, the relatively compact nature of the tracks – ranging from three to 13 minutes – or Bowling just improving with each release, Seeking all that’s Still Unsung is her most successful to date.