Pianist/composer Eddie Mendenhall is a young music professor at Monterey Peninsula College, and serves as an instructor at the renowned Monterey Jazz Festival Summer Jazz Camp. As a music professional, Mendenhall leads his own uncommon quartet on Cosine Meets Tangent
, his debut as leader, featuring the combination of piano and vibes as lead instruments. Mendenhall's professional background includes a seven-year stint on the Tokyo jazz scene, and performing as a member of Ray Brown's Great Big Band for the last five years.
In 2009, while passing though Monterey on tour, vibraphonist Mark Sherman
had the opportunity to perform with the pianist, and provided the encouragement to record this album. The duo plays well off each other, delivering solid performances throughout the set's ten primarily original pieces.
Bassist John Schifflett, a fellow member of the Brown big band, rounds out the rhythm section along with veteran, San José-born drummer Akira Tana
, known for his ten-year association with bassist Rufus Reid
's quintet. Mendenhall's auspicious debut features eight originals from the pianist, along with one from Sherman, and a gorgeous rendition of the Rodgers and Hart standard, "So Easy To Remember."
"Protocol" and "Rin Ki Ou Hen" (Japanese for "adapt to the circumstances")originally written for a nonetare two high-energy album openers, both Mendenhall and Sherman breaking out with darting lines. "Blues for Yokohama," perhaps a reference to the pianist's second country of Japan, and Sherman's "The Great Triplet," are two swinging numbers that capture the duo's vibrant interchange.
Mendenhall features his appreciable piano chops on the perky, upbeat title piece and the light "Lament For The Ocean," both trio pieces, with Sherman sitting out. Connecting on all fronts, Cosine Meets Tangent
is an exciting debut from the gifted Mendenhall, with a host of melody-rich material in a high quality gem of an album.