This 2 CD album is unusual to say the least. Not that the music is all that different, a regular mix of standards and originals, the latter mostly by pianist Dick Hindman. But the logistics involved in getting it to market meandered somehwhat...plus the fact that these guys actually rehearsed before they went into the studio. Back in 1984, Hindman got the three together to cut almost two hours worth of music. The engineer, Fred Catero, was starting a new label and picked up eight of the 16 tracks recorded that day in 1984 and issued them on his short-lived Catero label. It wasn't until 18 years later that an opportunity came along to release the complete session ( eight previously issued and eight new from the vault), on two CDs, using, by the way, the same album title Secret Garden
. All three of the participants have credentials as legitimate jazz performers with well-honed skills. Hindman is a veteran of the San Francisco Bay area and worked with Richie Cole and others, while Denver bassist Warburton has gigged with the likes of Cal Tjader and Pete Christlieb. It's Bailey that has the most impressive qualifications having worked with a line of performers running from Benny Goodman to Rita Coolidge. While he is generous with sharing the microphone with his fellow trio members, clearly Hindman is the centerpiece of the session. The music itself is nothing startling or earth shattering. It runs from a prettily romantic Hindman piece "Odiyan" to a gently over embellished "Sweet and Lovely". Hindman tends to emphasize the right hand at the upper end of the scale to make his musical points. This adds to the utopian aroma of his compositions. Every now and then, one wishes for deeper bass lines. At the same time, Hindman can offer some refreshing surprises. On his "Bossa de Amor", after the first chorus there is a complete and abrupt shift in tempo from a dreamy aura to hard bop. This comes on the second CD and I guess he wants to make sure you're still listening and it works!
I'm not sure that the 113 minutes of piano trio can be handled at one sitting. But just as long as one's expectations are held in check, this session can be a gratifying, relaxing diversion from the sometime ponderous piano sessions that find their way to CDs these days. To learn more about the pianist, visit www.dickhindman.com .