Peggy Stern's charms as a pianist and composer are subtle ones. Never flashy or cliched, she takes a "less is more" approach to jazz composition and arrangement, quietly and confidently letting ideas build without smacking the listener over the head with them.
Known best, perhaps, for her collaborations with Lee Konitz, Stern draws on a wide range of influences - including classical, Latin, rhythm 'n' blues, and the modern jazz piano tradition of Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett, and Paul Bley. She leads a fine septet here through a set of 11 diverse originals, ranging from the hushed bossa nova of "New Rain" (featuring a vocal choir made up of Stern's students) to the straight-up funk of "Buckleup" and "Leeway" (both featuring the big beat of drummer Bernard Purdie). Other highlights include the elegant waltz, "The Aerie," and "Attila/Zolong," a poignant tribute to the late guitarist Attila Zoller.
The band is impressive throughout, with notable contributions from the horn section of John McKenna on tenor sax, Art Baron on trombone, and Ron Horton on trumpet. Stern herself displays impeccable technique and a delicate touch at the piano, and she's quite capable of turning up the funk when need be. A very satisfying effort from a consummate jazz artist.
Peggy Stern, piano; John McKenna, tenor sax; Ron Horton, trumpet; Art Baron, trombone; Harvie Swartz, Art Kell, bass; Bernard Purdie, Tony Moreno, drums; Memo Acevedo, percussion.
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded albums and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, limited reopenings and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary step that will help musicians and venues now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the sticky footer ad). Thank you!
Get more of a good thing
Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.