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Bill Mays Trio: Autumn Serenade


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Bill Mays Trio: Autumn Serenade
In Autumn Serenade, Bill Mays gifts us a bountiful harvest of seasonally-bound beauties. This 40th leader date from the eminent pianist finds him fronting a trio with two longtime colleagues—bassist Dean Johnson and drummer Ron Vincent—and welcoming vocalist Judy Kirtley and producer/guitarist Matt Balitsaris for guest appearances on a single track. Together, all parties join up for a musical journey filled with reflection and romance.

Opening on the John Coltrane/Johnny Hartman-associated "Autumn Serenade," Mays makes good on the song's alluring ideals while Vincent's light-touch tom groove and Johnson's steady underpinnings enhance the general atmosphere. Blending his own writing with that of a Baroque bigwig, the leader turns next to the purity of The Four Seasons on the gleeful "Autumn with Vivaldi." Then he drops in on Wayne Shorter's "Fall," using that number to emphasize interplay within the trio; shows a real appreciation for the nature of tuneful and deciduous designs—and the art of trading solos—on "Lullaby of the Leaves"; and utilizes his own pen again for "Still Life," offering hope and grace while bringing Johnson to the fore.

Giving his trio mates a break and taking the mic while tickling the keys on "'Tis Autumn," Mays seems to channel the late Bob Dorough (who turned him on to the tune and inspired him to sing). Ralph Burns and Woody Herman's "Early Autumn" brings the trio back into play, demonstrating their simpatico on a swinging stroll through the crisp air. Then the program comes to an end with a pair of medleys. First there's a comforting and enthusiastic meeting of Bob James' "Autumn Nocturne" and Josef Myrow's different composition bearing the same name. And last is a finale connecting David Shire and Richard Maltby's "Autumn" to Barry Manilow and Johnny Mercer's "When October Goes," bringing the guests into play and adding light-touch Logic orchestrations to the bossa-based ending. As seasonscapes go, it's truly hard to beat this set. While approaching 80 years of age, Bill Mays remains at the top of his game.

Track Listing

Autumn Serenade; Autumn with Vivaldi; Fall; Lullaby of The Leaves; Still Life; 'Tis Autumn; Early Autumn; Autumn Nocturne / Autumn Nocturne; Autumn / When October Goes.


Album information

Title: Autumn Serenade | Year Released: 2023 | Record Label: Sunnyside Records




Sep 10 Tue

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