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Markus Burger / Joe LaBarbera / Bob Magnusson: Accidental Tourists: The L.A. Sessions (2012)

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Markus Burger / Joe LaBarbera / Bob Magnusson: Accidental Tourists: The L.A. Sessions Sometimes a definite connect exists between cover art and the music. German-born pianist Markus Burger's Accidental Tourists: The L.A. Sessions features a glossy cover photo full of reflections and right angle geometry, a sleek car with rounded contours. The music on this trio offering has a well-crafted geometry of its own, and a bright sheen brought out by Burger's clean, crisp touch and engagingly cerebral melodic sense, along with an exquisite feel for deep harmonies.

Burger's first recorded piano trio session reveals a player from pianist Bill Evans
Bill Evans
Bill Evans
1929 - 1980
piano
' art of the trio school. Like Evans, Burger has picked his sidemen well. Bassist Bob Magnusson
Bob Magnusson
Bob Magnusson
b.1947
bass, acoustic
—a hugely talented musician in the jazz and classical worlds—is a veteran with a "worked-with-damned-near-everyone" resume, including his contributions to several of alto saxophonist Art Pepper
Art Pepper
Art Pepper
1925 - 1982
sax, alto
's late career recordings. His big, powerful sound—huge notes with a slight fuzz of sustain in them seem to anticipate Burger's every move; and drummer Joe LaBarbera—a member of pianist Bill Evans' late career trio—adds the perfect subtle textures and detailed accents to the sound.

The set opens with Burger's "Grolnicks," for pianist/composer Don Grolnick
Don Grolnick
Don Grolnick
1947 - 1996
piano
(1947-1996). The tune has a light feeling, with a very pretty and memorable melody, and exquisite trio interplay in its wax and wane momentum.

Four of the twelve tunes are from Burger's pen, including the buoyant "Air Canada," the floating "Black Sea Pearl," and prickly snap-and-pop "Rodeo Drive Hustler." The first cover of the disc, George Gershwin
George Gershwin
George Gershwin
1898 - 1937
composer/conductor
's "I Loves You Porgy" is a highlight. It's often covered—by, among many others, pianists Bill Evans and Jessica Williams
Jessica Williams
Jessica Williams
b.1948
piano
—and covered well. A small masterpiece of a tune, it has never sounded lovelier than it does here in the hands of this trio. Burger's unhurried, no-wasted-notes approach, Magnusson's thick foundation and LaBarbera's whispering brushes bring out a sense of sweet longing tinged with a bit of sadness.

Other covers include a light-stepping take on Jerome Kern's "In Love in Vain" and a delicate and brittle exploration of the Miles Davis
Miles Davis
Miles Davis
1926 - 1991
trumpet
/Bill Evans jewel, "Blue in Green." But in the end, with the exception of "I Loves You Porgy," it's the Burger tunes that grab the ear—infectious, well-crafted compositions played by a stellar trio.


Track Listing: Grolnicks; Air Canada; Black Sea Pearl; Full Circle; I Loves You Porgy; Rodeo Drive Hustler; In Love In Vain; Inspektor Bauton; the Old Country; One World; Morning Smile.

Personnel: Markus Burger: piano; Joe LaBarbera: drums; Bob Magnusson: bass.

Record Label: Challenge Records


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