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CD/LP/Track Review

Mike Longo Trio: Sting Like a Bee (2010)

By Published: January 25, 2010
Mike Longo Trio: Sting Like a Bee Mike Longo, who studied piano with Oscar Peterson
Oscar Peterson
Oscar Peterson
1925 - 2007
piano
and served for a number of years as Dizzy Gillespie
Dizzy Gillespie
Dizzy Gillespie
1917 - 1993
trumpet
's pianist and music director, brings that experience and more to Sting Like a Bee, the follow-up to his well-received trio session from 2007, Float Like a Butterfly (Consolidated Artists Productions). While there's a different backup crew this time, it would be hard to envision a more virtuosic or compatible duo than bassist Bob Cranshaw
Bob Cranshaw
Bob Cranshaw
b.1932
bass
and drummer Lewis Nash
Lewis Nash
Lewis Nash
b.1958
drums
. Playing with Longo for the first time after only one rehearsal, their symmetry is truly remarkable.

Among other delights, Longo salutes his mentor, Peterson, with a medley of songs from the memorable Leonard Bernstein

Leonard Bernstein
Leonard Bernstein
1918 - 1990
composer/conductor
/ Stephen Sondheim Broadway musical, West Side Story, and closes the album with a tantalizing solo recital of Dizzy Gillespie
Dizzy Gillespie
Dizzy Gillespie
1917 - 1993
trumpet
's polyrhythmic "Kush." Even though he has technique to burn, Longo took his cue from Diz and learned what notes not to play. There are no Peterson-style pyrotechnics here, simply a series of lovely melodies played with warmth and perception. On the other hand, "simply" can't even begin to cover the scope of Longo's expertise, as what he engenders is the antithesis of simple.

Cranshaw and Nash are Longo's partners in every respect, not only providing a cozy rhythmic and harmonic cushion for his fanciful sorties but also soloing superbly when called upon to do so. Among the pleasant surprises are slow and sensual readings of Cole Porter

Cole Porter
Cole Porter
1891 - 1964
composer/conductor
's "Love for Sale" and Kurt Weill's "Speak Low," Herbie Hancock
Herbie Hancock
Herbie Hancock
b.1940
piano
's lyrical "Bedtime Story," Longo's bop-ish, Charlie Parker
Charlie Parker
Charlie Parker
1920 - 1955
sax, alto
-inspired "Bird Seed" and his blues-drenched salute to Milt Jackson
Milt Jackson
Milt Jackson
1923 - 1999
vibraphone
, "Checked Bags." Rounding out the charming program are Wayne Shorter
Wayne Shorter
Wayne Shorter
b.1933
saxophone
's "Speak No Evil" and "Dance Cadaverous," Clifford Brown
Clifford Brown
Clifford Brown
1930 - 1956
trumpet
's "Daahoud," the Latin-style "Morning" and Longo's plaintive "Someone to Love."

Piano trio albums these days are, as the saying goes, a dime a dozen. On the other hand, one couldn't go wrong placing a wager on Mike Longo's caustic Sting Like a Bee.


Track Listing: Speak No Evil; Love for Sale; Daahoud; Tell Me a Bedtime Story; Someone to Love; West Side Story medley; Dance Cadaverous; Morning; Speak Low; Bird Seed; Checked Bags; Kush.

Personnel: Mike Longo: piano; Bob Cranshaw: bass; Lewis Nash: drums.

Record Label: Consolidated Artists Productions

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream



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