All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review


Jon Mayer Trio: Do It Like This

Robert Spencer By

Sign in to view read count
From the first note of this fine CD it's clear that as a pianist Jon Mayer's technique and sensibilities were forged within the great tradition of his acknowledged influences - chiefly, Wynton Kelly, Red Garland, and Kenny Barron. At the same time Mayer cannot be pigeonholed easily. He can show the drive of Kelly and the gloss of Garland, yes, but after all, Mayer himself was recording in the Fifties with John Coltrane and Jackie McLean, so he is more of a colleague than a disciple of those two great pianists; and his own unique voice is clear throughout this disc.

On this disc are four Mayer originals, one by Watts, and four by others, including the standards "If I Should Lose You" and "Like Someone in Love," plus Horace Silver's wonderful "Out of the Night Came You." Victor Feldman's "Azul Serape" kicks it all off brightly, displaying Mayer's fleetness and fluency and the carefree simpatico he enjoys with bassist Bob Maize and drummer Harold Mason. The only problem is that with Mayer in mid-flight, this track fades out abruptly. ("Live music is best - bumper stickers should be issued." -Neil Young)

Monster tenor man Ernie Watts appears on the scene for his own "Lonely Hearts," giving Mayer a chance to demonstrate his generosity and sensitivity as an accompanist. He allows Watts to take center stage and provides a low-key palette for the reedman to stretch out a bit. Mayer's own stretching comes on his originals: the smoky "Shari's Bolero," where Watts shows his gentle side, includes a tremendous solo by Mayer. Focused on the right hand and returning here and there to hornlike lines, Mayer paints a picture of smoldering passion with effortlessness and surety.

"Randy's Tune," on the other hand, jumps out with a recurring three-note left-hand power figure that recalls Mal Waldron; Mayer quickly weaves in more genial material, but this one is still an engaging example of his high-speed mastery - was it playing like this that made Trane see in Mayer something of what he ultimately found in McCoy Tyner? Or perhaps it was the searching inventiveness and uncompromising beauty of Mayer's darker-edged "Ballad for Trane," a piece that only slightly recalls Coltrane or Tyner audibly, but which pays them the tribute of emotional depth, shifting moods and unsparing honesty.

Mayer is clearly a top-flight pianist whose "Rip Van Winkle" reappearance after a long silence is welcome for a number of reasons: his perseverance is inspiring, his piano playing is cheering, his music is great. Recommended.

Title: Do It Like This | Year Released: 1998 | Record Label: A-Records


comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles


Reservoir Music



Reservoir Music

So Many Stars

So Many Stars

Reservoir Music

The Classics

The Classics

Reservoir Music


Related Articles

Read Wherever You're Starting From CD/LP/Track Review
Wherever You're Starting From
by Troy Dostert
Published: March 21, 2018
Read Live in Miami @ the WDNA Jazz Gallery CD/LP/Track Review
Live in Miami @ the WDNA Jazz Gallery
by Jerome Wilson
Published: March 21, 2018
Read From Silence to Somewhere CD/LP/Track Review
From Silence to Somewhere
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 21, 2018
Read Never Bet The Devil Your Head CD/LP/Track Review
Never Bet The Devil Your Head
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 21, 2018
Read The Questions CD/LP/Track Review
The Questions
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 20, 2018
Read Meerkat Parade CD/LP/Track Review
Meerkat Parade
by Geno Thackara
Published: March 20, 2018
Read "Small World" CD/LP/Track Review Small World
by Edward Blanco
Published: April 26, 2017
Read "Bleak House" CD/LP/Track Review Bleak House
by Karl Ackermann
Published: September 15, 2017
Read "J.I.G.E.N" CD/LP/Track Review J.I.G.E.N
by Mark Sullivan
Published: July 5, 2017
Read "Aerial" CD/LP/Track Review Aerial
by Pascal-Denis Lussier
Published: May 3, 2017
Read "Trio Stonk: Live At Smalls" CD/LP/Track Review Trio Stonk: Live At Smalls
by David A. Orthmann
Published: November 4, 2017
Read "Il sistema periodico" CD/LP/Track Review Il sistema periodico
by Nicola Negri
Published: March 27, 2017