Pianist Markus Burger
spent the 1999-2002 period successfully battling lymphoma. Along the way, he wrote, improvised, and recorded the piano solos that are on Ultreya
(a term that translates as a cry of encouragement). The music is thoughtful, lyrical, heartfelt, and Burger
's way of saying thanks to all of the doctors, friends, and other people who encouraged his successful fight. Some of the selections are ballads, a few recall Ray Bryant
and Vince Guaraldi
in their bluesiness, and "Muhil" is worthy of Keith Jarrett
. But mostly Burger
sounds like himself, sometimes displaying his classical technique and also creating a particularly intriguing piece in "At the Creek," which creatively utilizes repetition. The music on this solo recital is charming, melodic, and thought-provoking.