Belgian pianist Ivan Paduart states “For this album, I tried to create an overall sound rather than a succession of miscellaneous moods”. Paduart is a fine pianist and displays roots and influences that seemingly trace the progression of jazz’ melodic and harmonically gifted pianists commencing with the Bill Evans school through Chick Corea. Paduart is in good company with the fiery, melodic and soulful tenor saxophonist Bob Malach. The rhythm section of Hein Van de Geyn (b) and Hans Van Oosterhout (d) are new names to this reviewer’s ears yet they perform commendably and lay down a solid undercurrent for the lead soloist’s.
The proceedings get off to a rousing start with the opener, “Can’t Wait’. Here, Paduart engages grandiose and melodic chord progressions as this tune features a memorable hook and some enticing phrasing from Malach. This piece brings to mind saxophonist Bob Berg and some of his recent work with Chick Corea. Paduart here and throughout, knows how to construct a solo and displays an expansive or at times lush, grandiose style. Malach and Paduart work well together as they harmonize, perform in unison and generate enough excitement especially on the opening tracks.
“Bouncing Ball” features shifting tempos, swing and intriguing melodies. The band is indisputable tight while Malach for the most part, serves as the director or lead instrument. “Shivers Down My Back” is an affable and radio friendly tune which hints at smooth or contemporary jazz as “Sherry On A Cake” is a mid tempo piece which features good ensemble work but not one of the highlights on this project. By the time this reviewer made it to “Reaching For The Stars” a sense of protraction or redundancy was beginning to surface. Although the ensemble work is top notch, the compositions are becoming too joined at the hip and many of the distinguishing factors are starting to lose a foothold. The closer, “Billet Doux” is a short, pleasant and effective ballad.
Ivan Paduart is a fine pianist and there are some excellent compositions on this CD. In the future, Paduart may consider stirring the pot either with additional instrumentation or a diversified compositional mix. No doubt about it, Paduart is a talent waiting in the wings while it is always a joy to hear tenor saxophonist Bob Malach who adds a touch of finesse and class to this project. ***
All Compositions by Ivan Paduart