Compare pianist Liz Story's solo work to Keith Jarrett's--who shares a similar jazz and classical background--and she fares well.
Story's appearance Saturday night at the Coach House offered the expressive and harmonic appeal of Jarrett's solo concerts, without the endless left-hand droning or lazy blues riffs. In fact, her work is closer to the Etudes of Franz Liszt than to the unaccompanied work of Jarrett or other keyboardists such as Bud Powell.
Though not as dense as Liszt's studies, her original material, mostly from her recent "Dance of the Love Ponies" album, proceeded at more leisurely, less-stringently enforced tempos, building around simple themes that served as touchstones for improvisational excursions. Moods ranged from a stately "Church of Trees" to the bouncy "Frog Park," a carefree romp that Story tempered with dark, low-pitched rumbling.
While the program suffered from a somber sameness, there's an obvious care and craft to her short pieces. It's unfair to dismiss her introspective approach of its New Age affiliations. Like the Liszt Etudes , it's often transcendent.