How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Pianist Leslie Pintchik and her bassist/husband, Scott Hardy, have invited percussionist Satoshi Takeishi into their cozy fold for a distinctive staging of the traditional jazz piano trio. The recipe succeeds, surprisingly well at times, as Takeishi adds his singular voice to Pintchik's melodic playing on So Glad to Be Here.
Although the Kern/Hammerstein opener, "All the Things You Are," begins innocently enough, almost immediately Takeishi's expressively delicate percussive pots and pans captivate. Against Hardy's firm foundation, Pintchik has a refined touch that is elegantly able to mesh with the assortment of gongs, cymbals, rattles and tuned drums that Takeishi brings to the table. Irving Berlin's "You Keep Coming Back Like a Song" has Pintchik floating over a deeply resonant rhythm, while her own composition, "Let's Get Lucky," alternates between chordal fluidity and a straight-up groove. Pintchik clearly states the lovely melody of Hardy's breezy "Scamba" while her "Happy Dog" and "Luscious" are further evidence that the trio is very at home in Latin surroundings.
On new music, like "Hopperesque," a tune that captures the expectation of an Edward Hopper painting, and the mood piece "Mortal," the formula works to perfection as Takeishi inserts unique coloration to Pintchik's pleasing proclamations. Both the unhurried pensive pace of "Something Lost" and the quickly moving "Terse Tune" allow for Scott Hardy to offer up heartfelt musical explorations, while the familiarity of Monk's "We See" is given a bit of an edge by Takeishi's tuned drums to close things out.
With eight originals, two standards and a novel take on Monk, So Glad to Be Here is a delightful session that presents a new perspective on what can be a clichéd format.
Track Listing: 1. All the Things You Are 2. You Keep Coming Back Like a Song 3. Scamba 4. Hopperesque 5. Let's Get Lucky 6. Happy Dog 7. Mortal 8. Terse Tune 9. Luscious 10. Something Lost 11. We See
Personnel: Leslie Pintchik--piano, Scott Hardy--bass, Satoshi Takeishi--percussion