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The DIVA Jazz Trio: Never Never Land (2010)

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The DIVA Jazz Trio: Never Never Land How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

About the nicest compliment one can pay the DIVA Jazz Trio's debut recording, Never Never Land, is that the threesome's irrepressible enthusiasm and energy (not to mention their consonance and artistry) are reminiscent of the great Oscar Peterson
Oscar Peterson
Oscar Peterson
1925 - 2007
piano
's classic trio with bassist Ray Brown
Ray Brown
Ray Brown
1926 - 2002
bass, acoustic
and drummer Ed Thigpen
Ed Thigpen
Ed Thigpen
1930 - 2010
drums
. Pianist Tomoko Ohno isn't Peterson, nor does she try to be, but she dwells in the same exalted realm, while bassist Noriko Ueda and drummer Sherrie Maricle offer stalwart impressions of Brown and Thigpen. If the trio's accord seems remarkable, a part of the reason lies in the fact that it doubles as the rhythm section for the superb all-women's big band, DIVA.

The group's choice of music is as inclusive as it is entertaining. After opening with a happy-go-lucky version of Harold Arlen/Yip Harburg's "If I Only Had a Brain" from The Wizard of Oz, the trio puts a sunny Latin spin on Chopin's graceful "Piano Nocturne No. 6" before addressing exemplary compositions by Horace Silver

Horace Silver
Horace Silver
1928 - 2014
piano
(the high-octane "Virgo"), Lerner and Loewe, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Fats Domino
Fats Domino
Fats Domino
b.1928
piano
(yes, Fats Domino) and Cole Porter
Cole Porter
Cole Porter
1891 - 1964
composer/conductor
, plus Betty Comden/Adolph Green's wistful title selection from Peter Pan. Lerner and Loewe contribute "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face" and "I Could Have Danced All Night," Rodgers and Hammerstein "My Favorite Things" and "Oh, What a Beautiful Morning," and Porter the venerable "Love for Sale." If Domino/Dave Bartholomew
Dave Bartholomew
b.1920
trumpet
's "I'm Walkin'" seems somewhat out of place among those celebrated standards, the trio makes it hum like a high-grade Swiss watch.

Besides working extremely well together, each member of the group is a first-class soloist, an appraisal that is borne out whenever one of them has the floor, while Maricle excels with brushes or sticks, providing taut and tasteful support in every circumstance. Ohno has impeccable technique, swings in every context, and shows she's not only able but eager to roll up her sleeves and get down and dirty on "I'm Walkin.'" As for Ueda, she does far more than simply orchestrate the tempo—even though she's a steady and invaluable time-keeper. She and her teammates make Never Never Land a delightful introductory cruise by three remarkably talented young women.


Track Listing: If I Only Had a Brain; Piano Nocturne #6, Op. 09, No. 2; Virgo; I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face; My Favorite Things; I Could Have Danced All Night / I Won't Dance; Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'; I'm Walkin'; Never Never Land; Love for Sale.

Personnel: Sherrie Maricle: drums; Tomoko Ohno: piano; Noriko Ueda: bass.

Record Label: Arbors Records

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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