231

Jim McNeely / Kelly Sill / Joel Spencer: Boneyard

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
Jim McNeely / Kelly Sill / Joel Spencer: Boneyard I'd take the bet that a good percentage of jazz fans—those of my generation, at least—got their start in jazz via Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Art Blakey and Dave Brubeck, mainly piano/bass/drum rhythm sections behind one or more horns. And I can remember wondering why Miles, Cannonball Adderley and John Coltrane sat out on "Billy Boy" on Miles' classic album, Milestones, (Columbia, 1958), letting pianist Red Garland, bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Philly Joe Jones have their way with the tune. The limited dynamic range of a piano trio—as addressed so succinctly in Francis Davis' liner notes to the reissue of the Legendary Bill Evans album You Must Believe in Spring (Warner Brothers, 1981/2003)—seems a problem for many early-in-the-evolution listeners.

Then somewhere along the line comes an "aha!" moment, some piano trio outing that stops them cold. For me it was Bill Evans' Sunday at the Village Vanguard (Riverside Records, 1961) with his classic trio alongside bassist Scott LaFaro and drummer Paul Motian. For others it might be Keith Jarrett's Standards Trio, or, to update things a bit, Brad Mehdau's trio.

That's a bit of a wordy introduction, perhaps, to this excellent piano trio set by pianist Jim McNeely, bassist Kelly Sill and drummer Joel Spencer, a modern recording full of vibrant interplay that stays anchored to the tradition. These trio members are all veteran players, with impressive resumes of recorded-with/played with-names: Joe Henderson, Phil Woods, Stan Getz, Renee Rosnes, Clark Terry, Wynton Marsalis, etc.

It all comes together on Boneyard, from the high-octane opener, Kurt Weill's "Speak Low," through an energetic take on Dizzy Gillespie's "Con Alma," into Dave Brubeck's "In Your Own Sweet Way," with McNeely's cascading intro giving way to the sweet familiar melody, juiced up more than your normally hear it, insistently gregarious, the three musicians locked into a bouncy, lubricated cohesion.

The set is marvelously sequenced, with classic tunes and a couple of originals each from the pens of pianist McNeely and bassist Sills, full of seamless interplay that comes from years of playing together, and some gorgeous Sills bass solos in front of McNeely's sparkling comping, closing with the ever wistful classic "In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning."

This superb piano trio outing could just serve as somebody's "aha!" moment.


Track Listing: Speak Low; Con Alma; In Your Own Sweet Way; For Manny; Fe Fi Fo Fum; A Sense of Fairness; Naomi; Ernie Banks; In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning.

Personnel: Jim McNeely: piano; Kelly Sill: bass; Joel Spencer: drums.

Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Origin Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2) CD/LP/Track Review TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2)
by Nicola Negri
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Goat Man & The House of the Dead CD/LP/Track Review Goat Man & The House of the Dead
by Dave Wayne
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by James Nadal
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read "Love For Sale" CD/LP/Track Review Love For Sale
by Geannine Reid
Published: June 23, 2016
Read "Westering Home" CD/LP/Track Review Westering Home
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 7, 2016
Read "Suite Ellington" CD/LP/Track Review Suite Ellington
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 26, 2016
Read "Legacy: A Coltrane Tribute" CD/LP/Track Review Legacy: A Coltrane Tribute
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 13, 2016
Read "Dreamland Mechanism" CD/LP/Track Review Dreamland Mechanism
by Roger Farbey
Published: July 10, 2016
Read "Rumi Songs" CD/LP/Track Review Rumi Songs
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 4, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

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!