The Tribute TrioJohn Rangel
, piano; Michael Glynn
, bass; Cal Haines
, drumswas formed in 2010 to do exactly that: pay tribute to some of the legendary pianists who have helped create and enrich the history of jazz. The trio's two albums to date, Dedications, Vols 1 and 2
(Self Produced) have earned "Best Jazz CD" honors (2012, 2013) in the New Mexico Music Awards competition. Whereas Vol. 1
was devoted largely to pianists from the swing and bebop eras, Vol. 2
has expanded the trio's horizons to include genres ranging from world music to classical, with several stops in between.
The dedicatees on Vol. 2
extend from Horace Silver
and Bobby Timmons
to Herbie Hancock
, Joe Zawinul
, Frederic Chopin ("Waltz") and even Victoria Rogers, the trio's music director and "honorary fourth member." The album opens, however, with "Time" (based on the song "Just in Time"), described as "the canvas where musicians paint aural pictures to delight, inspire, reflect." The inspiration for its melody, we are told in the liner notes, came from one of the foremost jazz icons of them all, Charlie Parker
. That may have proven difficult even for someone of Bird's immense stature, as Bells Are Ringing,
the musical in which "Just in Time" was introduced, opened on Broadway in November 1956, more than a year after Parker died. Be that as it may, the trio gives the fast-paced romp a splendid reading on which Rangel, who relocated from Los Angeles to New Mexico several years ago and teaches at Northern New Mexico College, unveils his impressive chops while Glynn and Haines provide a spacious comfort zone.
"Horace-Play" is a blues written in the Silver Style, and "Not So Easy" a soulful throwback to the bop era co-written by Rangel and Haines with Timmons in mind (as was "Heptagon," which could have been imported straight from New Orleans). To verify that Rangel is at ease in any setting, the trio salutes Hancock with the tasteful "Chance," Zawinul with the quasi-free "Priorities," and Chopin with the even- tempered, classically inspired "Waltz," on each of which Rangel changes colors as readily as a chameleon. The same can be said for the trio as a whole, whose close interplay is exemplary on every number. Rogers, the trio's right-hand person, is described as "complex, thoughtful, passionate" and "unusual," words that may also be used to clarify her own "tribute," the gossamer ballad "V," superbly performed by the trio. The album closes with "This Is the Place of Parting," summarized in the notes as "several short composed sections separated by areas of open improvisation." While "not written in the style of Chick Corea
per se," we are told, "elements were influenced by him." So one more "tribute" can be added to a session whose concept is admirable and execution first-rate.