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Bob Albanese Trio: One Way/Detour (2009)

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Bob Albanese Trio: One Way/Detour How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

In 2008, pianist Bob Albanese took his trio into a studio to do an unplanned recording while performing in Florida, spinning a collection of first and second takes with saxophonist Ira Sullivan
Ira Sullivan
Ira Sullivan
b.1931
reeds
that became One Way/Detour.

As a composer, Albanese uses rhythm to lay the groundwork for his compositions. He builds on spare harmonic and modal ideas, which are bolstered by steady support from Tom Kennedy

Tom Kennedy
Tom Kennedy
b.1960
bass
on bass and Willard Dyson on drums, to create solid original works. The group doesn't stray far from traditional arrangements on the standards and covers on the release, but serves them up in competent fashion.

Sullivan first appears on "Yesterday's Gardenias," where he uses smooth bebop lines on tenor sax to rework the melody, adding a touch of the blues before Albanese solos. Sullivan appears occasionally unsure of where he's going, but then since the recording was not rehearsed, it adds to the charm. He is featured on the release's covers—Thelonious Monk

Thelonious Monk
Thelonious Monk
1917 - 1982
piano
's "Ugly Beauty," "Midnight Sun" by Sonny Burke
Sonny Burke
Sonny Burke
1914 - 1980
arranger
, Lionel Hampton
Lionel Hampton
Lionel Hampton
1908 - 2002
vibraphone
and Johnny Mercer
Johnny Mercer
Johnny Mercer
1909 - 1976
composer/conductor
—and two versions of Albanese's "Friendly Fire."

The release includes seven takes on Albanese compositions, all of which are mid-tempo modal outings. Albanese finds a lot of room to work within these constraints, however, and seldom seems at a loss for ideas.

"Morning Nocturne"—featuring a hypnotic descending piano melody line, harmonized by Kennedy, that cycles around as Albanese improvises over it—really pops. The effect is simultaneously energizing and relaxing.

Although solidly done throughout, the musicians feel a bit timid—whether because of their playing or the mixing it's hard to tell. Kennedy's solos, for example, barely stand out against the comping and percussion supporting him on several tunes.

These points may be reflections of the unusual circumstances noted in the liner notes for the recording, which suggest the date was almost as improvised as the tunes. If that's the case, the Bob Albanese Trio has a lot going for it—credible musicianship, solid improvisations and Albanese's original compositions.


Track Listing: Major Minority; Yesterday's Gardenias; One Way/Detour; Morning Nocturne; Joyful Noise; Ugly Beauty; Waiting for Louis; Midnight Sun; Friendly Fire; More Friendly Fire.

Personnel: Bob Albanese: piano; Tom Kennedy: bass; Willard Dyson: drums; Ira Sullivan: tenor sax (2, 9, 10), soprano sax (8), alto flute (6), percussion (4).

Record Label: Zoho Music

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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