This solo release from Josh Johnston, a young Dun Laoghaire-based pianist and composer, sounds like a real labour of love. Entirely self-produced, it's an eclectic mix of classical, folk and jazz material including original instrumentals and covers of artists as diverse as Bob Dylan, Hoagy Carmichael and Irish songwriter Noel Brazil. There are impressive contributions from jazz singer Jane Dalton and saxophonist Carole Nelson but the album's defining feature is Johnston's stylish piano compositions which are so evocative that the covers sound a little inconsequential by comparison. Three Friends is, by any standards, a fine debut album; it would be interesting to see Johnston attempt something more unified and ambitious next time.
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