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Renee Rosnes: With a Little Help From My Friends

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No stars How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Very simply put, pianist Renee Rosnes has developed into one of this current generation’s finest mainstream artists regardless of gender. Making the most of her high-profile gig with Joe Henderson back in the ‘80s, Rosnes’ development was then artfully denoted over the course of six Blue Note albums released between 1990 and 1999. This is a fine compilation that brings together some outstanding and varied performances, while adding a few unreleased nuggets that are primed for excavation.

In a trio setting, we hear groupings with Buster Williams and Billy Drummond and with Scott Colley and Drummond (who also happens to be married to Rosnes). Larger ensembles include a trio “with strings,” plus quartets with saxophonists Joe Henderson, Walt Weiskopf, Chris Potter, and Branford Marsalis. Guests such as vocalist Dianne Reeves (“Lazy Afternoon”) and Wayne Shorter (“Diana”) are also assets to this very attractive collection. Of the four ringers thrown in that have remained previously unreleased up to now, the best of the lot is a live version of Alec Wilder’s “The Sounds Around the House,” complete with tenor saxophonist Walt Weiskopf’s serene and heartfelt contributions.

While your average run-of-the mill compilation usually falls short in surmising the contributions of complex artists, this one presents Rosnes as a multitalented musician and novices need look no further for a better introduction. In addition, the added material will provide enticement for those who might already have covered their bases.

Track Listing: Summer Nights, I

Personnel: Renee Rosnes (piano); Joe Henderson, Walt Weiskopf, Branford Marsalis (tenor sax); Chris Potter (tenor sax, soprano sax & bass clarinet); Wayne Shorter, Steve Wilson (soprano sax); Ira Coleman, Buster Williams, Peter Washington, Scott Colley, Ron Carter, Christian McBride (bass); Billy Drummond, Al Foster, Lewis Nash, Jack DeJohnette (drums); Don Alias(percussion)

Record Label: Blue Note Records

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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