It is refreshing to hear three of the most forward thinking musicians in the jazz mainstream tackle material from the Great American Songbook in a decidedly conventional manner. Bassist Ray Drummond, drummer Billy Drummond (no relation), and pianist Renee Rosnes, all first call New York area players and leaders in their own right, play tunes like “Autumn In New York,” “Danny Boy,” and “Like Someone In Love,” without deconstructing melodies or demolishing song-forms. The music adheres to a straight-ahead piano trio format, with Rosnes taking the lead voice and the bass and drums in supportive roles.
The opening cut, “Nature Boy,” is a good example of the trio’s overall sound. After Rosnes’ brief introduction, the bass and drums enter and establish a medium tempo while the piano states a partially reharmonized version of the melody. Rosnes fashions a solo that is full of daring bop lines yet firmly grounded by the accompaniment. “Alone Together” begins with Ray Drummond playing the head over Rosnes’ chords, features a solo consisting of dancing phrases by the pianist, and an exchange of eights and fours between the bass and drums.
The highlight of the set is a stunning version of Arlen and Harburg’s “Over The Rainbow.” Amidst the Drummonds’ sensitive support, Rosnes’ understated treatment captures the tune’s exquisite melancholy without becoming dramatic or sentimental.
Track List:Nature Boy; Autumn In New York; Over The Rainbow; Alone Together; When You Wish Upon A Star; Danny Boy; Lullaby of Birdland; Sound of Silence; Polka Dots and Moonbeams; Like Someone In Love.