220

Rob Schneiderman: Back in Town

Paul Olson By

Sign in to view read count
Rob Schneiderman: Back in Town Back in Town commemorates veteran pianist Rob Schneiderman's return to New York City after a six-year absence (he was in California getting a Ph.D. in mathematics) and is his first recording since 2001's Edgewise. Recorded in one day in January of 2004, Back in Town is a standards album of exceptional musicianship—Schneiderman's chops are completely unaffected by any time off and I suspect he's been finding time to play—but very unexceptional chemistry among the members of the trio (which includes bassist Boris Kozlov and drummer Johnathan Blake).

The album's shortcomings are exemplified by the opener, a breakneck-tempoed version of "Darn that Dream." Schneiderman's eagerness to play is undeniable: he charges off like a racehorse, and all three players sound terrific. Kozlov's rich, warm tone is delicious and Blake's drums sound crisp and in control. But there's an undeniable feeling of claustrophobia as Schneiderman stuffs dozens of musical ideas into his soloing, leaving the other two struggling for room, effectively elbowed aside by the leader. The number ends with some traded phrases between Scheiderman and Blake, and like the rest of Back in Town , it sounds bright and loud , but there is little sense of real musical exchange.

A version of "Nature Boy," done up in a heavy-handed Latin arrangement, suffers from the same lack of real rapport. And after an epic "I Concentrate on You" that fills eight minutes with an almost Coltrane-like intensity (actually the arrangement does have a touch of McCoy Tyner), the relative modesty of Antonio Carlos Jobim's "A Felicidade" comes as a welcome and refreshing change: Schneiderman's playing is bluesier, less ornamented, and its closing, freetime coda of Schneiderman playing unaccompanied is just lovely. Likewise, the lengthy opening of "Chega de Saudade," the other Jobim tune covered, again just Schneiderman a capella, is heartfelt and beautiful, strongly suggesting that the pianist is best heard—until he gets some of the prodigal excitement out of his system—on his own, without a band.

The album is not without its pleasures; the group's version of the seldom-played Sonny Rollins number "Paul's Pal" has plenty of excitement and the mathematical Möbius strip of Coltrane's "Giant Steps" can withstand the sort of musical firepower Schneiderman brings to the session. Kozlov's rare solo on "Never Let Me Go" is a textured gem and would make any listener think of Scott LaFaro even if it weren't a Bill Evans tune (albeit one LaFaro never played); of course, when one hears a bassist playing a LaFaro-styled solo, one immediately begins listening in vain to the pianist for some Bill Evans comping, but Schneiderman's not in a listening mode this time.

Schneiderman's musical ability is above reproach, as are Kozlov's and Blake's. Jazz is about more than just chops and ideas, though; it's very much about listening and responding, and anyone seeking those virtues will be frustrated by Back in Town.


Track Listing: 1. Darn that Dream 2. Nature Boy 3. I Concentrate on You 4. A Felicidade 5. Never Let Me Go 6. Chega de Saudade 7. Paul's Pal 8. Giant Steps 9. Sonnymoon for Two

Personnel: Rob Schneiderman, piano; Boris Kozlov, bass; Johnathan Blake, drums

Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Reservoir Music | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Transparent Water CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Billows Of Blue CD/LP/Track Review Billows Of Blue
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Love Dance CD/LP/Track Review Love Dance
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Honest Woman CD/LP/Track Review Honest Woman
by James Nadal
Published: February 20, 2017
Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Final Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read "Gold" CD/LP/Track Review Gold
by Jim Olin
Published: January 25, 2017
Read "Flow" CD/LP/Track Review Flow
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2016
Read "Live in Sant’Anna Arresi, 2004" CD/LP/Track Review Live in Sant’Anna Arresi, 2004
by Karl Ackermann
Published: December 17, 2016
Read "Imagine Nation" CD/LP/Track Review Imagine Nation
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 1, 2016
Read "Panthalassa: The Music Of Miles Davis 1969-1974" CD/LP/Track Review Panthalassa: The Music Of Miles Davis 1969-1974
by Sacha O'Grady
Published: December 23, 2016
Read "Back Home" CD/LP/Track Review Back Home
by Jack Bowers
Published: March 15, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!