Is there a better trio than the Florestan playing today? All three members are consummate artists, outstanding instrumentalists, and ensemble players to the manner born, but it’s the playing of pianist Susan Tomes that carries these performances to their greatest heights. Since the ensemble is perfectly judged by all concerned, it may seem unjust to single out the playing of one member for special comment, but such is the extreme sophistication, the extraordinary subtlety and the expressive range of this artist that I can see no alternative. The tonal control, the exquisite shaping of phrases, the rhythmical suppleness and structural backbone are of an order seldom encountered in the playing even of many famous soloists. But what renders her playing here still more remarkable is the exemplary precision with which it’s matched to the different sonorities and qualities of attack, so-called, of the string players. And what players they are. For all of the above this is not a pianist-dominated performance, except insofar as Schubert wrote the piece that way.
This lesser-known Sonny Clark session (his only studio album not made for Blue Note) is sometimes issued under drummer Max Roach's name, too. They are joined by bassist George Duvivier for a set of generally obscure Clark originals including "Minor Meeting," "Blues Mambo," and "My Conception" (which is taken as an unaccompanied piano solo). Although not obvious while listening to his recording, Clark's life was in decline and this would be his penultimate date as a leader.
This outstanding DVD, recorded live at the Funkhaus, Hannover for a TV broadcast, on December 14, 1972, not only gives us the opportunity to listen to Webster, but far more rarely, to see him in performance, exquisitely backed by the Oscar Peterson Trio featuring the late Danish bassist Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen & Tony Inzalaco, drums.
Webster and Peterson played together many times, and the tenor saxophonist often said that Oscar was his favorite accompanist.
The quality of Chet Baker's product was so varied during the last decade or more of his life that recording sessions varied markedly. For this "remixed version" of Mr. B Baker sounds a tad tired, though his chops are in fine form. The studio recording captures the trumpeter with highly sympathetic and self-effacing pianist Michel Grallier and bassist Ricardo Del Fra, both of whom engage in the leader's brand of sensitivity. There are no vocals by the trumpeter, but plenty of improvising. The interesting tune selection features a few songs played often by Baker (such as Wayne Shorter's "Dolphin Dance" and Horace Silver's "Strollin'"), but several that are not associated with him at all (Grallier's "White Blues" and his gorgeous "Father X-mas," to name a couple). There is a sadness permeating the trumpeter's sound throughout, exacerbated by the lazy, sometimes sluggish, tempos. A deep and touching beauty can be felt, marking this as one of Chet's best from the period.
For those needing a reminder of Cole's very original and expert piano playing, this 18-track roundup of some of his best instrumentals should fit the bill. Part of Capitol's three-volume series of Cole's classic trio sides (the other two cover the vocals), The Best of the Nat King Cole Trio includes gem after gem from the group's 1943-1949 prime and features the classic lineup that included guitarist Oscar Moore and bassist Johnny Miller. With Cole and Moore seamlessly blending lines throughout, the group forged the standard for many a piano trio to follow by way of classics like "Jumpin' at Capitol," "Sweet Georgia Brown," and "These Foolish Things"…
Reissue with the latest remastering and the original cover artwork. Comes with a description written in Japanese. Pianist Debbie Poryes works here with a Dutch trio formed right after her arrival on that scene – a nicely-balanced group that really respects Debbie's sensitive touch on the keys, and seems to make her subtle sounds come out even more than they might in the setting! Poryes has an approach that's on the mellower side of lyrical – kind of a post-Bill Evans approach, but even more subtle overall – yet one that's also very striking in its subtlety – as the lean choices of notes show just how far and free jazz piano had come by this time, but in ways that could still swing and stay inside. The group features Hein Van De Geyn on bass and Hans Eykenaar on drums – and titles include "For Brad", "Sweet Georgie Fame", "Holland", "Foolish Door", and "My Romance".
This CD represents one venerable pianist paying tribute to another: Sir Roland Hanna and his fine trio playing compositions by, associated with, or written for John Lewis, the musical director of the Modern Jazz Quartet for all of its life. Lewis was admired for his distinctive bop playing and his creative involvement with one of the greatest groups in jazz history, but only one of his originals has become a standard: the immortal "Django," rendered here in an elegant arrangement that alternates between somber and swinging.