Drummer Christian Buckholz, who developed the idea for this album and produced it, was a close friend and student of the late pianist Lennie Tristano. He (almost) played in Lennie’s trio back in the ’60s (but that’s another story). The “missing chair,” of course, is Tristano’s, which means this unpretentious, bop-based session lacks a piano but makes up for that in other ways, primarily through the cozy interplay among Buckholz, bassist Eddie DiMatteo and tenor saxophonist Jay Corre. Some may remember Corre as a combative soloist with Buddy Rich’s dynamic big bands from the mid- to late-’60s, a player Buddy himself called the world’s greatest saxophonist. Even though his approach is mellower these days, Corre can stoke the fire when necessary, as he shows on a number of these generally well-known but no less charming songs. But he’s a balladeer at heart, witness his expressive statements on “You Don’t Know What Love Is,” “All the Things You Are” and “Crazy She Calls Me.” Corre is the main soloist with DiMatteo adding solicitous commentary on several occasions and Buckholz tending for the most part to his timekeeping duties save for a brief volcanic eruption on Lester Young’s “Tickle Toe.” Christian’s daughter, Dawn Buckholz-Avery, adds cello and voice on “Requiem in 13 for Lennie Tristano,” the drummer’s warmhearted salute to his friend, written in 13 measures, he says, “to illustrate Lennie’s pragmatic, non-superstitious attitude. He would have smiled at that.” Indeed, Tristano may have smiled quite often while listening to Buckholz’s close-knit trio dissect a variety of Jazz and popular standards including tunes by Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, the Gershwins, Harry Warren and two each by Prez and Bird (but none by Tristano). An amiable session from beginning to end.
Personnel: Christian Buckholz, drums; Jay Corre, tenor saxophone; Eddie DiMatteo,
bass; Dawn Buckholz