Michael Cain challenges audiences to presume to know what style he’s going to play. Having a career that has led him to perform with an array of diverse artists gives him an expansive chest of material to pursue. And so he does with Sola (2015), his 10th album as a leader.
Cain plays keyboards and handles programming. He’s accompanied by two ensembles. The Vegas band, which appears on six tracks, consists of Renaldo Elliot, drums; Abo Gumroyan, bass; Mike Gonzale, trumpet; Julian Tanaka, clarinet; and Eddie Rich, saxophone. The New York band, two tracks, is a trio with Cain on piano and keys; Billy Hart, drums; and James Genus, bass.
The opening track, “Orun,” is a brief soundscape. Elliot starts things off with a workout on the kit. About a minute into it, the other musicians come in. The horns and bass provide a steady backdrop, while Cain improvises. The title is from the Yoruba word for “sun.” Cain calls it a welcoming song, asking for blessing and giving thanks.