Bob Brookmeyer: Plays Piano: Holiday
Being able to play more than one instrument is quite common in jazz, especially these days. Even moving between reed and horn is not unusual as Benny Carter, Jay Thomas and others have demonstrated. But moving from a trombone to a piano with sufficient confidence to make an album with the "second" instrument is more than a challenge, it's a remarkable feat. And an album that's more than 70 minutes long to boot! That's what valve trombonist and jazz icon Bob Brookmeyer has taken on. The result? Well it depends on one's expectations. If you keep in mind that piano is not Brookmeyer's main instrument, the outcome is quite pleasing. If you're looking for a virtuoso, tour de force performance, look elsewhere. So what makes this album work. First, Bob Brookmeyer is a consummate musician and the feel for the music that such artists exude comes through with each note. Second, the play list gives priority to melody. One of the prettiest tunes on the set is Brookmeyer's "Child Song", simple beauty at its finesy. And third, are the two companions he has chosen for this session, both among Europe's most seasoned. Like the pianist, their playing is modest, eschewing complicated harmonics. This doesn't mean that each song each is limited to a recitation of the melody line. Not for a minute. There are interesting explorations of most of the tunes on the set, such as "I Thought About You" and "It Could Happen to You". The former has some engaging bass by Vinding. "Things Ain't What They Used to Be" is treated to an off center reading by the group. The one thing about simplicity is that you hear everything that the musicians are doing. There's no hiding behind dazzling arpeggios and runs and complex chords. And that's one of the desirables that makes this album enjoyable...remembering to keep expectations within reasonable bounds. Recommended.
Track Listing: The Man I Love; Summer Song; It Could Happen to You; Holiday; I Thought About You; I Should Care; Things Ain't What They Used to Be; Pastoral; Jan Likes; Stupid Song; Child Song; It Might as Well Be Spring
Personnel: Bob Brookmeyer - Piano; Mads Vinding - Bass; Alex Riel - Drums
Record Label: Challenge Records