In 2017 pianist David Janeway offered his Secret Passages
, a trio outing featuring bassist Frank Tate
and drummer Chuck Zeuren
. He proves, in 2021, that he can change partners without losing an ounce of swing or even a shot glass of verve. It is Cameron Brown
on bass this time out, with Billy Hart
sitting in the drum chair. Both are serious, elevate-the-music guys, while Janeway continues with his sprightly cerebralism and crystalline-touch way of making music. Distant Voices
is packed with well-chosen standards and Great American Songbook gems, some familiarWayne Shorter's "Nefertiti; Robert Altman's "All Or Nothing At All"and some that lean to the more obscure side, such as bassist Gary Peacock's "Gardinia" and Walter Bishops's "Waltz For Zweetie." And throw in four distinctive tunes from Janeway's pen which fit right in to the mood of the set, "One For Cedar," "Excursion," "In Passing" and "Movin' On."
In a blindfold test of Distant Voices
the name Hank Jones
might come up. Jones and Janeway share similar styles, with the crisp display of single notes in the melodies, the lush chords. A style thatto use an outdated description, perhapscould be tagged "classy." Hank Jones classy, Red Garland
classy. Janeway and the trio cover Jones' "Minor Contention" to follow up the zingy opener, "Sweet And Lovely." Janeway, Brown and Hart share a rhythmic up-tempo sympathy on Jones' composition, taking things to a breakneck speed, before they ease off the momentum for Mercer Ellington
's "Blue Serge," using the spacious arrangement which Bill Evans
used on the tune, making the music levitate.
And while the trio illuminates the covers, it also makes the Janeway compositions sound like classics. Working bands seem a thing of the past, but these three virtuosos sound like one; they sound like a group settled into the comfort zone, players who go on the road together for six months of the year, and love every minute of it, after which they go into the studio and turn out a compelling and polished product.
Sweet And Lovely; Minor Contention; Blue Serge; Moontrane; Gardenia; One For Cedar; Brigitte; Waltz For
Zweetie; Excursion; All Or Nothing At All; In Passing; Nefertiti; Movin' On.