275

Jon Alberts / Jeff Johnson / Tad Britton: Apothecary

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
Jon Alberts / Jeff Johnson / Tad Britton: Apothecary An Internet search for the Fu Kun Wu Lounge in Seattle, Washington's Ballard neighborhood, reveals one patron's assessment of it as "one of the best kept secrets of the Seattle Jazz Scene." Many of the city's dynamic Origin Records stars perform in the converted Chinese herbalist's shop; players like pianists Bill Anschell and Marc Seales, saxophonist Hans Teuber and bassist Jeff "Free" Johnson. So how the lounge remains a secret is a mystery.

Pianist/entrepreneur Jon Alberts, the owner of Fu Kun Wu and the attached Thaiku Thai Restaurant, puts his piano chops on display in the lounge too, with Jeff Johnson and drummer Tadd Britton. Apothecary puts the sounds of that twenty-year musical relationship down for posterity.

The ever-familiar "On Green Dolphin Street" opens the set. The trio's fluid symbiosis gives the tune a drifting feeling and a spare freshness, Alberts displays a less-is-more approach, with a beautiful feel for the melody. Thelonious Monk's "Bemsha Swing" is pared down to its angular essentials. Albert plays with a delicate touch, wasting no notes as Johnson and Britton search in, out and around the tune's intricacies.

Miles Davis's "Nardis" is taken at a ruminative pace, followed by Dave Brubeck's "In Your Own Sweet Way," pulling the sound in an edgy and fractured up-tempo groove. The trio explores the spare beauty of guitarist Mick Goodrick's "Summer Band Camp" with understated elegance.

The trio then revisits Monk, rumbling into "Mysterioso" before settling into a restrained turbulence. Again, less-is-more, with facets of the melody flickering like small lightening flashes in the roiling bass/drum backdrop.

Bill Evans' "Turn Out the Stars," Wayne Shorter's "Footprints," and Leonard Bernstein's "Some Other Time," closing the show, were recorded live in the Fu Kun Wu Lounge. The subdued crowd noise at the beginning of each performance, and the scattering of enthusiastic applause at the wrap-up, gives the sound a Bill Evans Sunday at the Village Vanguard (Riverside, 1961) vibe.

Apothecary, an excellent piano trio outing, shines a fresh light on some time-tested tunes.

Track Listing: Green Dolphin Street; Bemsha Swing; Nardis; In Your Own Sweet Way; Summer Band Camp; Mysterioso; Turnout the Stars; Footprints; Some Other Time.

Personnel: Jon Alberts: piano; Jeff Johnson: bass; Tad Britton: drums.

Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Origin Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


comments powered by Disqus

Shop

CD/LP/Track Review
Multiple Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles

More Articles

Read The Big Wig CD/LP/Track Review The Big Wig
by Ian Patterson
Published: May 24, 2017
Read The Dreamer Is the Dream CD/LP/Track Review The Dreamer Is the Dream
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 24, 2017
Read Bill Evans – Another Time: The Hilversum Concert CD/LP/Track Review Bill Evans – Another Time: The Hilversum Concert
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: May 24, 2017
Read The Failure of Words CD/LP/Track Review The Failure of Words
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 24, 2017
Read Groove Dreams CD/LP/Track Review Groove Dreams
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: May 23, 2017
Read Kami Fusen CD/LP/Track Review Kami Fusen
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 23, 2017
Read "New York Connections" CD/LP/Track Review New York Connections
by David A. Orthmann
Published: September 18, 2016
Read "Innate" CD/LP/Track Review Innate
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: March 29, 2017
Read "Ha Noi Duo" CD/LP/Track Review Ha Noi Duo
by Ian Patterson
Published: March 27, 2017
Read "Ocean of Storms" CD/LP/Track Review Ocean of Storms
by Troy Dostert
Published: February 21, 2017
Read "A Curious Feeling" CD/LP/Track Review A Curious Feeling
by Glenn Astarita
Published: July 16, 2016
Read "Two Of A Kind" CD/LP/Track Review Two Of A Kind
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 30, 2016

Why wait?

Support All About Jazz and we'll deliver exclusive content, hide ads, hide slide-outs, and provide read access to our future articles.

Buy it!