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This is a time when it seems like a score of new jazz piano trio albums are released daily. Many of these pianists, promising and established, seek to establish their credentials per their own compositions. It all tends to make a fella forget the joy of hearing a well chosen set of The Great American Songbook played in this setting.
For his fourth album for Arbors, John Sheridan and his trio provide the listener with a sparkling, and can I say exciting, performance of twelve examples of the above. In fact, few of these tunes fall in the category of needing retirement for a few years by the jazz and cabaret artists who keep them in the public eye. With all due respect to the idiosyncratic stylings of others, the pleasure derived from this album is similar to hearing Marian McPartland at the Hickory House, Erroll Garner at The Embers, Tommy Flanagan at Bradleys, and Dave McKenna at Mikells.
Sheridan's previous output for this label has included piano solos, duo recordings with Dick Hyman, and recordings with his own Dream Band. The examples here provide an excellent Music Appreciation 101 lesson. The up-tempo settings of "Let's Get Away From It All" and "Ev'rything I Love" are tempered with the balladry of "Wonder Why" and "The Folks Who Live On The Hill," with a forgotten verse included. "No Love, No Nothin'" is taken at an appropriately bluesy pace and an ambitious "Change Partners" provides an eight-minute display of Sheridan's pianistic abilities. None of the songs represented here were written beyond 1950.
A piano trio is only as good as the gestalt of the three musicians, and the Sheridan group is no exception. Tony DeNicola on drums provides a light touch and uses his brushes sensitively as well as keeping the pace going. David Stone is afforded several solo opportunities on bass and has a booming authority. This is one album that will be kept towards the top of the pile.
Track Listing: It's Been So Long, I'm Glad There Is you, Soon, Wonder Why, Ev'rything I Love, Change Partners, The Folks Who Live On The Hill, I'll Always Be In Love With You, Poor Butterfly, I Never Knew(I Could Love Anybody,Half As Much As I Love You), No Love,No Nothin', Let's Get Away From It All.
Personnel: John Sheridan, piano; Dave Stone,bass; Tony DeNicola,drums