George Colligan: Runaway (2008)
George Colligan is no ordinary musician and offers convincing proof on his Sunnyside Records. On Runaway, this award-winning pianist and composer presents a dynamic program of eleven new and varied lyrical pieces ranging from straight-ahead to free improvisation and a touch of fusion. With a lengthy and impressive discography, this album comes off the heels of the highly acclaimed Blood Pressure (Ultimate, 2006) that featured Colligan with multiple rhythm sections.
Here Colligan stick with his trio band mates of bassist Josh Ginsburg and drummer Enoch Jamal Strickland, augmenting the play with the addition of guitarist Tom Guarna and vocalist Kerry Politzer. Colligan is a multi-instrumentalist who actually began playing the drums, switched to piano and trained in classical trumpet. Here he is featured not only on the piano but also indulges on the Fender Rhodes, synthesizers and blows the horn on the light soothing ballad of "Innocent Youth," while Politzer fills in on piano.
The trio kicks off the repertoire with the blistering "End Of A Dynasty," followed by "The Righteous," a high-energy piece of fusion featuring Colligan manning the Rhodes and synthesizer and Ginsburg on the electric bass. Politzer provides soft vocals on "When I Go," accompanied by Guarna's guitar lines, while Colligan remains on the Rhodes. One of the exceptional tunes on this disc is the pop-friendly ballad "Be Gentle" where, once again, Colligan performs on both the Rhodes and synthesizer in an absolutely beautiful number worth repeated spins.
The pianist tosses in a little free improvisation with "Skeletons In The Closet," somewhat of a departure from the rest of the session, and turns classical with a warm and delicious performance provided on "Waltz For All The Things We Meant To Do And Never Did." The title track offers just a tinge of the Latin flavor but not enough to qualify it as a Latin jazz number, remaining true to a contemporary jazz style.
George Colligan is a monster on the boards delivering stunning solos throughout which, combined with his creative new charts, ensure that Runaway will most likely be another runaway success for one of the most talented musicians on the jazz scene today.
Track Listing: End of a Dynasty; The Righteous; When I Go; R U Things The All?; Be Gentle; Skeletons in the Closet; Forlorning; Ghostland; Waltz For All The Things We Meant To Do And Never Did; Innocent Youth; Runaway.
Personnel: George Colliagan: piano, Fender Rhodes (2, 3, 5, 7), trumpet (10), synthesizers (2, 5, 7); Josh Ginsberg: acoustic bass, electric bass (2); Enoch Jamal Strickland: drums; Tom Guarna: guitars (2-6); Kerry Politzer: voice (3, 7), piano (10).