This CD isn't "cool" in the sense of inscrutable players wearing dark shades and attitude. It's more like the "cool" applied to something delightful, like this trio's deft and friendly handling of the material. The jazz on Cool is absolutely solid but never denseit's playful and flowing, full of imagination and wit.
The trio freshens the familiar with new arrangements. They dare to commit reharmonization on "C Jam Blues," and it works; so does the rubato bass lead on "I Loves You Porgy," which transforms that tired tune into something pensive and deep. Three tracks were written by Joe's father, Al Cohn: the wake-up opener, "Take Four," the swinging "You and Me," and the audible fun between "Two Funky People." Also represented are Fats Waller and Nat Cole, in the jaunty "Jitterbug Waltz" and the intricate "Bop Kick." Leonhart sings his dreamy lyric to Tommy Flanagan's "My Bluebird," vocalizes his own thoughtful "For Real," and delivers one of his patented wry performances on "Cool." His droll liner notes capture the feel of the music: both include flashes of humor with profound respect and love for the tradition.
All three musicians are seasoned stars in their own right, and their combination is sparkling and classy. If you liked Oscar Peterson with Ray Brown and Herb Ellis, you'll love this new release.
Take Four, If I Only Had a Brain, Cool, Nobody Else But Me, Shall We Dance, My Bluebird, Jitterbug Waltz, C Jam Blues, You and Me, I Loves You, Porgy, Bop Kick, For Real, Two Funky People
Jay Leonhart (bass, vocals), Ted Rosenthal (piano), Joe Cohn (guitar)