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The Kevin Hays Trio: You've Got a Friend (2009)

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The Kevin Hays Trio: You've Got a Friend How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Pianist Kevin Hays and long-time collaborators Doug Weiss (bass) and Bill Stewart
Bill Stewart
Bill Stewart
b.1966
drums
(drums) explore a set of jazz and pop classics on You've Got a Friend, a well-conceived piano trio affair.

The Carol King-penned title track and Paul Simon

Paul Simon
Paul Simon
b.1941
composer/conductor
's "Bridge Over Troubled Water" begin the disc with a laid-back gospel vibe, tranquil and unhurried. Hays approaches these pop classics with just the right amount of lyricism, being faithful to the essence of each tune while happily avoiding the temptation to drift into overbearing melodrama. The same could be said of Weiss' reading of the melody on "Bridge Over Troubled Water." Here, the bassist opts for the lower register and executes wonderfully with impeccable intonation and matter-of-fact phrasing.

A more adventurous spirit is exhibited on "Fool on the Hill" with Hays steering the Paul McCartney

Paul McCartney
Paul McCartney
b.1942
composer/conductor
piece off course somewhat, harmonically and rhythmically. The trio really begins to light up on Thelonious Monk
Thelonious Monk
Thelonious Monk
1917 - 1982
piano
's "Think of One," swinging hard and delivering an intuitive back-and-forth, especially between Hays and Stewart. Hays' impressionistic arrangement of "Sweet and Lovely" finds the trio pondering the tune's potential through a lengthy introduction. When the groove finally kicks in, Hays proceeds to develop a lengthy weave of inventive ideas.

Bob Dorough

Bob Dorough
Bob Dorough
b.1923
piano
's "Nothing Like You" and a fun reworking of Charlie Parker
Charlie Parker
Charlie Parker
1920 - 1955
sax, alto
's "Cheryl" end the disc with hints of bebop, gospel and a thrilling twist of intensity. All in all, Hays and company deliver a satisfying trio set with an uninhibited approach to choice material.

Track Listing: You've Got a Friend; Bridge Over Troubled Water; Fool On the Hill; Think of One; Sweet and Lovely; Nothing Like You; Cheryl.

Personnel: Kevin Hays: piano; Doug Weiss: bass; Bill Stewart: drums.

Record Label: Jazz Eyes

Style: Modern Jazz


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