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Chris Rottmayer: Being


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Chris Rottmayer: Being
On Being, his fourth album as leader, Wisconsin-based pianist Chris Rottmayer has chosen to appraise the music of pianist Mulgrew Miller, as written for and performed by the Woody Shaw Quintet. Russ Johnson sits in for Shaw on trumpet and flugelhorn, while the celebrated bassist Rufus Reid and drummer Matthew Endres round out the quartet's capable rhythm section.

Half of the album's ten numbers arose from Rottmayer's study of Miller's work with Shaw; the other five are impressions of various sites in Paris, where Shaw lived for more than twenty years. Without getting too technical, suffice to say that Rottmayer "transcribed Miller's playing and used his and Shaw's language as inspiration for the creative work behind [the album]." That meant using, among other things, Miller's vernacular and Shaw's harmonies to press home his point.

The opening track, "On the Street Where Woody Lives," is based on Shaw's "Green Street Caper," which was in turn modeled on Bronislau Kaper's theme for the film On Green Dolphin Street. Tempos, which can be quick—as on "Chatelet" and "Rue des Lombards"—and modulations challenge Johnson as much as anyone, and he proves more than equal to the task. As for Reid and Endres, they comprise a sharp and dependable rhythmic tandem, while Rottmayer holds everything together with his luminous and forceful keyboard work.

Aside from "The Street Where Woody Lives," the songs inspired by Miller and Shaw include "Re-United," "Autumn Evening," "Song of Modes" and "Ballerina Dance." The references to Paris are "Pigalle," "Chatelet," "La Seizieme," "Pont Neuf" and "Rue des Lombards." The quartet gives each of them a pleasant ride, and Being is a splendid session whose value is further enhanced by its generous seventy-seven minute playing time.

Track Listing

On the Street Where Woody Lives; Re-United; Pigalle; Châtelet; Autumn Evening; Song of Modes; Ballerina Dance; La Seizième; Pont Neuf; Rue des Lombards.


Album information

Title: Being | Year Released: 2024 | Record Label: Shifting Paradigm Records



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