Cellar Groove was recorded live at the Cellar Restaurant and Jazz Club in Vancouver on December 11 and 12, 2004 and features the legendary David "Fathead Newman as a special guest with local pianist Tilden Webb's trio. The program is relatively straightforward, featuring some of Newman's compositions along with contributions by Webb and a number of standards. The band is reliably soulful and tight, letting most of the spotlight fall on Newman.
Cahn and Styne's "Time After Time boasts some lovely, sensitive work from Newman. He caresses the melody with a gentle touch but with enough verve to communicate a deep sense of joy. The rhythm section wisely stays clear, letting him say everything he needs to say. On his own composition, "Cousin Esau, Newman contributes some funky, stuttering flute work that functions as an engaging change of pace.
The whole band remains marvelously in sync throughout the graceful ballad "Lady J, written by Webb. Newman whispers intimacies while drummer Jesse Cahill flutters gingerly in the background, applying the exclamations that Newman seems too discreet to utter. Webb adds an exceedingly pure piano statement that is made all the more beautiful by the very inevitably of its logic. Beneath it all, Jodi Proznick's bass keeps score, like an anticipating heart. The fervor of the audience response at the track's conclusion is the most appropriate climax.
Cellar Groove finds the Tilden Webb trio in a truly beneficial groove with Newman. The album as a whole seems a reflection of their partnership: relaxed, expert, and stimulating.
Cellar Groove; Cookie; Time After Time; Lady J; This I Dig Of You; Round About; Cousin
Esau; Night In Tunisia.
Tilden Webb: piano; Jodi Proznick: bass; Jesse Cahill: drums; David "Fathead" Newman:
tenor and alto saxophones, flute.
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