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Dan Cray: Meridies (2012)

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Dan Cray: Meridies Track review of "Smile"

How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

There is nothing iconoclastic about pianist Dan Cray. He derives his piano style more from Tommy Flanagan
Tommy Flanagan
Tommy Flanagan
1930 - 2001
piano
and Hank Jones
Hank Jones
Hank Jones
1918 - 2010
piano
than Matthew Shipp
Matthew Shipp
Matthew Shipp
b.1960
piano
or Ran Blake
Ran Blake
Ran Blake
b.1935
piano
. He has been driving a trio through four previous recordings: Who Cares (Cray Sounds, 2001); No One (Blujazz productions, 2003); Save Us! (Blujazz productions, 2005); and Over Here Over Heard (Crawdad, 2008). Cray has also provided movie music for actor Michael Keaton's The Merry Gentleman (2009) and appeared on the television show Gossip Girls.

Cray remains in firm control on his Origin Records debut, Meridies, where he fronts a quartet that includes tenor saxophonist Noah Preminger
Noah Preminger
Noah Preminger
b.1986
saxophone
and makes some very compelling mainstream jazz. But it is on the trio outing, Charlie Chaplin's "Smile," that Cray sounds restless and willing to color a bit outside of the lines. He takes this slightly sad ballad and injects it with a bit of island breeze through his left hand, transforming it into a rolling mid-tempo number that would be appropriate for any set opener. Cray, bassist Clark Sommers and drummer Mark Ferber
Mark Ferber
Mark Ferber

drums
stretch the dynamics of the mainstream in the middle section of the tune where a grand empathy is shared. All three participants are miked and mixed closely, revealing how trio jazz is supposed to sound.

Personnel: Dan Cray: piano; Clark Sommers: bass; Mark Ferber: drums.

Record Label: Origin Records

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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