A thoughtfully planned, beautifully recorded, generously timed and wonderfully played trio session led by drummer Alex Riel and showcasing the prodigious talents of pianist Kenny Werner and bassist Jesper Lundgaard, so exhilarating that this reviewer was reminded from time to time of the classic Marian McPartland Hickory House trio from the '50s with bassist Bill Crow and drummer Joe Morello. After opening the concert date at the Copenhagen Jazz House with three spellbinding standards, Riel and Company elucidate Horace Silver's "Peace" and Thad Jones's "A Child Is Born," return to the tried-and-true American Songbook for two more masterpieces, and Werner wraps things up with an unaccompanied reading of J.S. Bach's "Siciliana." Werner, who doesn't habitually linger long in this groove, shows a lyrical side that is consistently radiant and charming, not to mention shrewd and resourceful. He really should do this more often. As for Riel and Lundgaard, they are twin pillars of tastefulness and talent, thoroughly at ease in every situation and always ready to maximize the trio's rhythmic impact. Listen, for example, to their understated mastery on "Green Dolphin Street" or anywhere else, for that matter. Like Werner, Lundgaard is a nimble and expressive soloist (his arco statement on "Bye Bye Blackbird" is especially engaging), and Riel has his shining moments as well, most notably on "Blackbird," "Autumn Leaves" and "You and the Night and the Music." But this is primarily a group effort, and one that seldom fails to please.
Contact: Stunt Records, 29 W. Maple Avenue, Bellmawr, NJ 08031 (phone 856-931-6441; fax 856-931-6445. www.sundance.dk
Track Listing: In Your Own Sweet Way; Bye Bye Blackbird; Autumn Leaves; Peace; A Child Is Born; On Green Dolphin Street; You and the Night and the Music; Siciliana (78:40).
Personnel: Alex Riel, drums; Kenny Werner, piano; Jesper Lundgaard, bass.
I love jazz because it is in my blood. It is the only original American art form. It is sacred. The greatest musicians are jazz artists.
I was first exposed to jazz in 1961 listening to my father's records of Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn, Count Basie, Nat King Cole, Ben Webster, Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young.
I met Sonny Stitt, Wayne Shorter, Branford Marsalis, Joey Calderazzo, Michael Brecker, Cannonball Adderley, Walter Booker, Dave Liebman, Joe Lovano, George Benson, Mike
Stern, Stanley Turrentine, Billy Harper, Skip Hadden, Charlie Haden.
The best show I ever attended was Joe Lovano with Soundprints at the Wexner Center in Columbus Ohio in 2014.
The first jazz record I bought was Miles Smiles.