Bob McHugh has been a mainstay in clubs and bistros in and around the New York City for more than thirty years. He is also relatively well represented on records as well. This album for the Outstanding Records label feature McHugh and his trio working through a musical program of mostly familiar standards with some originals by McHugh and members of his trio added to give the proceedings a more modern touch. McHugh plays the piano with a flourish with a style and approach falling somewhere in between the immediately recognizable brilliant and eloquent chordal passages of an Erroll Garner and the less ornate but still musically expressive techniques of an Oscar Peterson One thing is for sure, McHugh uses all the space allotted to him on a given track. No unnecessary penny-pinching space saving or minimalist techniques need apply when McHugh is in the room. He can tenderly stroke a tune such as "Laura" getting every bit of emotion built into that song from the movie with which it associated. Similarly, the pathos and tragedy Gershwin built into the music for Porgy and Bess comes through McHugh's finger tips on a medley of tunes from that operetta. His own "Intimite" reveals a sense of humor. The first chorus conveys a lyrical romanticism that borders on classical. But when the second chorus comes around, he and the group have segued into a swinging, jazzy, up tempo improvisation on the melody line. There's some fine pizzicato bass by Earl Sauls on this cut. "It's Delovely" is a classic piano trio playing, with everyone having a lot of fun showing off their wares on Cole Porter's stalwart warhorse.
There's no attempt here to create a major breakthrough so many of the younger players feel they must achieve in today's jazz setting. McHugh comfortably plays good straight ahead jazz, working into the music his own set of ideas, which make good stuff sound that much better. Learn more about McHugh at http://www.voiceoftherockies.com/bob_mchugh.htm. Recommended.