How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Thirty-two-year-old Midwesterner Geoff Keezer was one of the last pianists to work as a part of the Ray Brown Trio. Many writers that I have spoken with feel that he was the quintessential Ray Brown pianist. The late Mr. Brown favored double-fisted orchestral pianists with a jones for the blues but also a strong ballad sensibility. I have always favored the late Gene Harris, but Keezer might edge him out by a nose. Mr. Keezer’s previous recording Zero One was well received.
The pianist's Telarc debut as a leader is a bold stroke. Keezer teams up with four prominent pianists for a series of duets honoring the great Sam Jones, who turns 85 years old this year. The disc presents Mr. Keezer in the left channel and the other pianists in the right channel. The results with Kenny Barron, Chick Corea, Benny Green, and Mulgrew Miller are equally fine. Highlights include Keezer’s duet with Benny Green on "Hank’s Blues," where these two Ray Brown pianists practice an impressive display of telepathy. Jones shares his composition "Lullaby" with Mulgrew Miller, whose tenderness serves as a perfect foil for Keezer’s muscular tone. The title cut is Keezer alone, and perhaps celebrates Hank Jones the best— simply.
Sublime works well on all levels and we can only hope that the young Mr. Keezer pursues more projects like this inventive and beautiful recording.