Ben Waltzer Trio: One Hundred Dreams Ago (2004)
Smeenus Smiles, composed by Waltzer, starts out with a lovely, lyrical piano introduction that recalls Bill Evans before it twists and turns, allowing for a murmuring solo by Penman, and culminates in a barrage of soulful chords from Waltzer. "I'm Through With Love receives a sensitive reading that acknowledges the resignation of the lyrics like a shrugged shoulder, yet it's also played delicately enough to admit that hope springs eternal. Penman's solo arrives like a good friend, sympathizing, but careful to advise that there are plenty of fish in the sea. Elsewhere, the band gets playful on the tumbledown melody of "Soundcheck Blues.
One Hundred Dreams Ago is a tasteful and sophisticated recording by a trio with a refined sense of interaction. Waltzer's own compositions hold up well even when placed alongside works by the likes of Ellington and Strayhorn. I'm curious to hear more from this trio.
Track Listing: Our Rhythm; Smeenus Smiles; Time And I; Hymn And The Blues Up High; U.M.M.G.; Soundcheck Blues; I'm Through With Love; The More I See You; One Hundred Dreams Ago
Personnel: Ben Waltzer-piano; Gerald Cleaver-drums; Matt Penman-bass
Record Label: Fresh Sound New Talent