The album is a diverse mix that shows the range of Hanna's musical interests. There's a nice little traditional blues and a modernist take on the old time rag in his own composition, "20th Century Rag." He takes "Cherokee," the swing classic made famous by Charlie Barnet, and first turns it into a romantic ballad before making clear he can swing it as well. He jams his way through jazz standards like "Robbin's Nest," "In a Mellow Tone," and a richly evocative version of Billy Strayhorn's "Lush Life." There is an almost impressionistic take on Coltrane's "Naima." Then there are his own compositions such as the title track, an upbeat romp. "Natalie Rosanne" is a sweet ballad, while "A Story Often Told But Seldom Heard" is an eight minute tone poem with echoes of classical modernism.
In a way, this combination may be the most compelling thing about both Hanna's playing and his composing. His work reverberates with echoes of the classics from a variety of traditions. Throughout the album you hear the influences of not only "Piano Literature of the Romantic Period," not only of Liszt and Rachmaninoff, but Satie and Gershwin and many others. He takes these influences and mixes them with Scott Joplin and Duke Ellington and he produces something all his own. As some of the more experimental voices in modern jazz go, he may be a little tame. He may be a little too traditional. But for anyone who finds themselves thrilled with that Romantic piano music, Sir Roland Hanna (the Sir, according to Wikipedia, is an honorary title bestowed on him by the president of Liberia) is someone you will want to get acquainted with, and Colors From a Giant's Kit is a good place to start.