As we struggle though this period of self-isolation caused by the 2020 global health pandemic, along comes Cory Weeds with a charming new quartet release anchored by pianist David Hazeltine and called quite fittingly Day By Day. Little did the participants realize when the recording was undertaken in August 2019, that most people would be living day by day, looking forward to having a world-wide nightmare come to an end.
In this ten track set, most of the compositions are well-known popular songs, along with a few originals. All the arrangements are by pianist Hazeltine. No new ground is broken here. This is a recital by contemporary musicians who demonstrate an affinity for the music and each other, thereby delivering the goods with a sincere but un-flashy approach.
The opening track is a Cory Weeds original, "Blues De Troye." This is a blues in name only and certainly does not fit in the standard twelve bars blues tradition. However it does rock along in expressive style with both Weeds and Hazeltine improvising with a creative flow.
The balance of the disc spins out in an smooth fashion, due in no small measure to the musicianship of both Weeds and Hazeltine. Weeds is an artistic player who generally doesn't stray far from the melody. But given the proper vehicle such as the Jimmy Van Heusen / Johnny Burke song "Nancy With The Laughing Face," Weeds takes advantage of Hazeltine's Latin vibe to deliver the number with authority and assurance.
David Hazeltine is a pianist who brings the knowledge of jazz history into his playing style. Whether it is leading his own trio, or working with other jazz greats such as Joe Henderson, Joe Henderson or Pepper Adams, he is constantly adapting the forms and structures of the compositions that are part of his repertoire.
Hazeltine's own composition "Relatively Minor" is a good representation of his approach to keyboard. It's a wonderfully structured piece fuelled by energy and filled with magnetism and purpose. In their solos, both Valentine and Weeds show taste and harmonic command of the frame, while bassist Ken Lister and drummer Jesse Cahill build a swinging groove.
All in all, this release is a welcomed reprieve in an uncertain time.
Nobody Else But Me; Blues De Trove; Nancy With A Laughing Face; It Could Happen To You; Sterling
Silver Sailboat; Relatively Minor; Day By Day; Tangerine; Lullabye Of The Leaves; The Shining Sea.
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