How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Most nightclub trios don't take requests. Those that do, however, probably know each of these songs inside and out. Many of us grew up with 'em. They're beautiful songs that take us somewhere special every time we hear them. BeatleJazz laces each familiar tune with new spices. It's the kind of swinging improvisation that comes out naturally and quite differently each time. On "Let It Be," for example, the trio lays down the melody with a loping, laid back feel. And how can you not recognize that opening harmony? After Charles Fambrough rambles through a tasteful solo, David Kikoski changes the mood seamlessly. Exciting and full of life, the trio's interpretation sweeps away the customary and introduces the singular. "Blackbird" gets re-harmonized and "Julia" gets a rhythmic facelift. BeatleJazz bops hard along "Blue Jay Way," then drummer Brian Melvin provides a fascinating tabla-like thrill throughout the dreamy "Tomorrow Never Knows." They pull a switch on "Michelle" by starting out with a disguised version. Kikoski remains true to the song's lovely appeal, however, as he caresses the melody again and again without resorting to mere replication. Finally, as the end nears, the pianist delivers the song straight up. BeatleJazz takes the pretty and the familiar and returns it as classic acoustic improvisation. The absence of lyrics would seem to hinder such a project; but it's the close bond that we've developed over the years that makes this project work. Hopefully, they'll keep on taking bites of the apple for years to come.
Track Listing: I'll Follow the Sun; Here, There and Everywhere; Let It Be; Give Me Love; Michelle; Magical Mystery Tour; It Won't Be Long; Blackbird; Julia; Blue Jay Way; Tomorrow Never Knows.
Personnel: Dave Kikoski: piano; Charles Fambrough: bass; Brian Melvin: drums.