Although a native New Yorker, it was in Chicago that Jim Burke honed his pianistic skills playing with the likes of violinist Johnny Frigo and others. Moving to San Francisco in 1982, he quickly made a name in that city's jazz community. This inaugural CD is a stage for his stylish elegance as the music flows from his piano like a rippling stream, clean, bright and breathtakingly beautiful. No matter the genre or tempo, whether the blues as on Ahmad Jamal's Nite Mist Blues or a waltz on "I Have Dreamed" from the King and I
, or an intense "Sometime Ago", Burke's piano brilliantly captures that all the music has to offer. He gets some help from his friends on this session. Bassist Robb Fisher is no silent partner in this trio. His plucked bass creates some interesting under tones to Burke's piano. On "Like Someone in Love", the bass is placed closed to the mike so Fisher's musings are not drowned out by the keyboard. Thus, the listener gets the full effect of improvisions Fisher is creating over the melody line. Nice stuff! "Here's That Rainy Day" is handled as delicately as one would a valuable piece of art. Although Burke and Robb get the lion's share of visibility, Lee Charlton's gets in a lick or two on such tunes as Miles Davis' jazz classic "All Blues". Otherwise his steady hands at the drums is the steering wheel that keeps the session from going off the road.
As indicated earlier, this is Burke's first recording. Regrettably, it's also his last since sadly he passed away shortly after it was cut. Hands On is piano trio playing at its finest and a fitting legacy for this sensitive and talented pianist.