An out–of–the–ordinary 1988 session by the “Red Mitchell Trio,” which, courtesy of modern technology, is composed of Red Mitchell on bass, Red Mitchell on piano and Red Mitchell on vocals. The “leader,” of course, was known primarily as a bassist (the past tense is used because he passed away in November ’92), but his “sidemen” are respectable enough, especially pianist Mitchell who has an uncluttered, easygoing style and sensitive touch that lend themselves well to the trio format. On the other hand, vocalist Mitchell, who is heard on nine of the eleven selections, is rough–hewn, to say the least. He does sing, but it’s clear that’s not his primary means of employment, as his sincerity and charm far outpace his aptitude. He delves into songs on the order of a Mose Allison or Jimmy Rowles but is a shade less convincing, which is understandable, as they devoted more time to vocalizing than he. Donning yet another hat, Mitchell emerges as a more than respectable songwriter. His melodies (six of which are included here) are appealing, the lyrics caustic and hip (in spite of some dated references to current events on “Poles Apart”). Mitchell’s other vocals are on Wayne Shorter’s “Tell It Like It Is” (to which he added the lyrics) and the standards “Come Rain or Come Shine” and “I’m Glad There Is You.” He lays out on “But Beautiful” and “My Romance.” While bassist Mitchell performs as reliably as expected, the real surprise is pianist Mitchell who could perhaps have enhanced many a group in that capacity if his metronomic alter ego hadn’t been so earnestly sought–after. For Red Mitchell’s many admirers, a splendid souvenir of his memorable talents.
Come Rain or Come Shine; But Beautiful; I Do Love Love; I