Bassist Todd Coolman readily cops to his collections in the liner essay for this delightful date, noting a fondness for accumulating baseball caps, photos and drawings of birds, timepieces, and antique fishing tackle. But it's his collections from the realm of musicalso cited in his writing(s)that shape this date. He's amassed a stockpile of favorite songs over the course of his storied career and he's filled his mental Rolodex with a cache of compatriots ideally suited to different projects. He taps into both lists here, delivering a baker's dozen of tasty musical treats with Trifectaa trio with pianist Bill Cunliffe and Dennis Mackrel.
Coolman has never been one to needlessly complicate things for the sake of trying to keep up with trends, so don't expect anything from left field here. It's his deep understanding of the music and his direct engagement with his subject(s) and fellow musicians that continually mark him as hipper than hip. Coolman swings hard and susses out the truth that lives behind the musical veils of harmony, melody, and rhythm, so he need not be concerned with keeping up with the "in crowds" that traffic in whacked-out jazz raves, metric brainteasers, and/or avant-garde exploits. He plots a straight-ahead course here and it proves to be a most direct route to musical enjoyment.
These songs sing with the strength of familiarity in the hands of these musicians. All of the music has a lived-in sound without suffering from the played-out feel that can often accompany that level of comfort. Bill Evans' "Funkallero" is groove play at it's finest, the Gershwin-penned "Isn't It A Pity" is a model of balladic comportment, Renee Rosnes' "Jimmy Up, Jimmy Down" swings its way into the consciousness, Mackrel's "With All My Love" presents with lights-are-low Brazilian flavor(s) in the mix, and Harry Warren's "You're My Everything" has to-die-for rhythmic feels that will likely elicit face contortions in the affirmative from those on the listening side of the fence. Through it all, whether serving as the lead voice, conversing through his instrument, or acting as the mechanism that holds everything in place, Coolman demonstrates why he's universally viewed as the complete musician and the real deal.
New Rhumba; We'll Be Together Again; Joshua; With All My Love; Jimmy Up, Jimmy Down; Summer Night; Isn't It A Pity; Funkallero; Prelude To A Kiss; You're My Everything; Out Of The Darkness; Three And One; Flatbush.
Todd Coolman: bass; Bill Cunliffe: piano; Dennis Mackrel: drums.
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