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David Hazeltine-George Mraz Trio: Manhattan (2006)

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David Hazeltine-George Mraz Trio: Manhattan No stars How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Familiarity is a plus on this 2005 studio session by pianist David Hazeltine with bassist George Mraz and drummer Billy Drummond. Drawing most of their program from familiar standards and popular jazz compositions, the three musicians make each of them sound fresh with their brilliant interplay.

The influence of Bill Evans is apparent in Hazeltine's approach to Dave Brubeck's "In Your Own Sweet Way, with Mraz's intricate bass line and Drummond's finesse on the brushes fueling the pianist's solo, though he leaves plenty of room in the spotlight for his partners. The opening rhythm of "Alone Together suggests that "A Night in Tunisia is about to get underway, though with the leader's entrance, they detour into a breezy, swinging performance. Cole Porter's "So in Love is taken at a medium waltz meter, showcasing Mraz extensively. Hazeltine penned the lovely ballad "Don't Walk Away, arranged as an easygoing samba.

The intimate sound of this well-engineered Super Audio hybrid CD helps one to hear the nuances of the session. This rewarding release is best appreciated in a quiet room with one's full attention.

Track Listing: In Your Own Sweet Way; Imagination; Out of This World; Theme for Ernie; Cinema Paradiso; Alone Together; Detour Ahead; Dont Walk Away; So in Love; Everything I Love.

Personnel: David Hazeltine: piano; George Mraz: bass; Billy Drummond: drums.

Record Label: Chesky Records


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