PIANIST DAVID Kane's "March Heir" is the sort of album that suggests consistency isn't always a virtue, especially if you're looking to showcase your gifts in a variety of settings. Jazz, fusion, New Age, classical -- Kane covers a lot of ground and covers it well, but don't be surprised if you view the results as more of a sampler of his tastes and talents than a record that you'll always want to hear from start to finish.
Given Kane's jazz credentials and the fine company he's keeping -- bassist Drew Gress, drummer Michael Smith and saxophonist Glenn Cashman, among others -- it's not surprising that the boppish "Philanthropy" and other tunes that draw inspiration from acoustic jazz traditions seem the most inspired and enjoyable. For one thing, there's a drive and interplay apparent on those tracks that's absent elsewhere. For another, everyone is better off, including Kane, when the focus of a piece is the tune and not the texture, as the impressionistic "Cloud Cameo" makes abundantly clear.
Besides, the New Age meditations aren't nearly as diverting as the string quartet arrangement of "The Pathless Land," the album's coda and one of several pieces that readily display Kane's strengths as a composer.
DAVID KANE -- "March Heir" (Magellan). Appearing Friday at Twins.