Pianist Eric Reed is one of the most articulate and intelligent ambassadors of jazz performing today. His 21st Century recordings Happiness
, From My Heart
, Mercy and Grace
, and Merry Magic
show Reed fully formed and creatively fluid. Add to these thoughts bassist Rodney Whitaker and drummer Willie Jones III, and the jazz listenership receives the grace of perfectly conceived and delivered jazz piano trio music.
Tasteful, thoughtful and cognizant, Eric Reed is a complete musical package with a graceful style and an encyclopedic mind (which never dominates the pianist's performance). On Here, Reed joins Whitaker and Jones to produce one of the finest trio performances of the year. These three musical personalities collide and assimilate into a swing earthquake.
While Eric Reed is ever the leader, in no way does he smother his superb rhythm section. Quite to the contrary, Jones emerges as drummer of great power, springing from the mold of Philly Joe Jones and Tony Williams. His contributions are best heard on "Kokomo and Coltrane's "26-2, where the drumming abounds with challenging cross-rhythms and deft cymbal work. Whitaker's bass work in highlighted in several solos, but none more appealing than the opening of the Reed original "Wish (For My Father).
As for the leader, Eric Reed is grace personified. His style betrays a light, informed touch, particularly on ballads. Lacking the iconoclastic approach of Marcus Robert, Reed forges new ground in his playing while remaining between the lines of good taste, successfully emphasizing harmony and melody. His ballads, like "Wish or "Easy to Remember, show an easy-swinging, plush and exact approach. I can only hope to hear more of this music.
Personnel: Eric Reed: piano; Rodney Whitaker: double bass; Willie Jones III: drums.