Covering works from 1971 to 2006 and recorded in 2012 by Ursula Oppens and Bruce Brubaker, ‘Piano Songs’ comprises four piano solos and eight duets, including some arrangements by Brubaker of work originally penned for voices or other instruments. Oppens and Brubaker are well matched, displaying the required sensitivity for music that is lightly played, sparsely ornamented and intimate in scale. [...] With its contentment to stay within the conventions of piano music, ‘Piano Songs’ may seem a relatively slight entry in Monk’s distinguished catalogue. But in the same way that the uneasy calm of 1972’s ‘Paris’ erupts unexpectedly into a sudden gush of spiky clusters and runs, the polite surfaces often conceal rewarding depths.
Abi Bliss, The Wire
Though the pieces are billed as songs, they’re dances too, with all the rhythmic vitality and weight that that entails – at times they conjure up Monk’s characteristic choreography, with its puckish stomps and bends. The result, in ardent and expansive performances by Ursula Oppens and Bruce Brubaker, is a stretch of winsome and ebullient musical poetry.
Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle