Mainstream jazz sometimes involves risk-taking. Trade fours with the drummer, turn the bassist loose on almost every number, and concentrate on what you want to say with the piano. But each artist stretches as he sees fit. Let’s have a round of applause for the bassist, Tyrone Brown!
Gay Pearson’s piano trio resembles the group you’ll find at most local jazz clubs and lounges. On this, her third CD, they perform with a quaint manner that you’d love, either in person or on compact disc. Complete information may be found at Gay Pearson’s web site .
Pearson is at her best with Herbie Hancock’s "Maiden Voyage," where she pushes hard and allows creativity to take over. Her guests provide contrasting variety while keeping the session in the mainstream. For "Last Night When We Were Young," John Blake "croons" with a weepy-eyed opening alongside bowed bass and piano before changing-up to a bouncier middle section. The light-hearted nature of the tune makes for a good time. That mood rolls over to "Precious and Playful Baby Blues," which incorporates sampled bird calls from Pearson’s pet parakeet to compete with singer Denise Montana’s natural song styling. The leader’s solo piano performance of John Coltrane’s "Giant Steps" takes on a strong, carefully laid out European classical form, while Pearson’s lounge music piano trio arrangements of "When Lights Are Low," "Second Time Around" and "Whisper Not" loosen up the scene and make you feel like you’re right there sipping your drink in the room, nodding your head, and tapping your toes. Trish V. Johnson plays the baritone saxophone with a fluid Gerry Mulligan approach that works wonders alongside the piano trio with guest conguero Ray C. Williams. Her composition "Easy Does It" reflects a light Caribbean flavor and moves the pianist into a powerful, contrasting interlude that lights a fire to the piece. A similar occurrence in "When Lights Are Low" ignites the session. Recommended, Pearson’s straight-ahead album offers variety while keeping the mainstream fires burning.