258

Peter Zak: Down East

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
Peter Zak: Down East Pianist Peter Zak and his superb trio went into the studio to swing on Down East, and swing they did. Opening with Duke Pearson's "Is That So?," Zak displays a light touch and a sparkle and shine not unlike that of Red Garland or Oscar Peterson, with ubiquitous bassist Peter Washington and drummer Rodney Green locking the rhythm into a tight foundational groove for Zak's bright ebullience. On a set of well-chosen standards mixed with lesser-known gems, and with the bass and drums more in a supportive than interactive mode, Zak's beautiful way with a melody comes to the forefront.

George Gershwin's "Who Cares" showcases the trio's ability to let a ballad unfold via Zak's exquisitely refined touch, and the leader's up-tempo original, "Sector 7," has a prickly, modern feeling. Given the Pearson and Gershwin opening salvo, a very traditional, mainstream outing in the mode of pianist Bill Evans could be expected, but song choice heads toward the unexpected with Thelonious Monk's "Gallop's Gallop." It is not one of the legendary pianist's better-known tunes—it didn't appear on a Monk album until the release of the 1964-recorded Live at the It Club (Sony Music, 1982). Zak smooths out some of the edges and refreshes the harmony while maintaining the humor and the characteristic Monk quirkiness of the tune.

Zak has been describes as a bebop and beyond stylist. He delivers straight bebop with a reverent take on trumpeter Clifford Brown's bouncy "Tiny Capers," giving bassist Washington a chance to step out for a melodious solo. The trio goes "beyond" on Henry Mancini's "Dreamsville," perhaps the loveliest eight minutes of the set, leading into the frenetically high octane "Invisible," from the songbook of alto saxophonist/free jazz pioneer Ornette Coleman.

The set then moves into a couple of Zak originals: the gorgeous, smooth-flowing bossa nova, "He Said/She Said," then closes out with engaging and light-stepping title cut, for a perfect ending to rising star Peter Zak's top notch trio effort.


Track Listing: Is That So?; Who Cares?; Sector 7; Gallop's Gallop; I didn't Know About You; Tiny Capers; Dreamsville; Invisible; Love Thy Neighbor; He Said/She Said; Down East.

Personnel: Peter Zak: piano; Peter Washington: bass; Rodney Green: drums.

Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: SteepleChase Records


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read Northern Adventures CD/LP/Track Review Northern Adventures
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Collider CD/LP/Track Review Collider
by John Sharpe
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Eos CD/LP/Track Review Eos
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 28, 2017
Read More Than This CD/LP/Track Review More Than This
by Henning Bolte
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read "Take Me To The Alley" CD/LP/Track Review Take Me To The Alley
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 10, 2016
Read "Chris Thile & Brad Mehldau" CD/LP/Track Review Chris Thile & Brad Mehldau
by Geno Thackara
Published: January 16, 2017
Read "Time Out" CD/LP/Track Review Time Out
by Sacha O'Grady
Published: July 9, 2016
Read "Imagine That" CD/LP/Track Review Imagine That
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 30, 2016
Read "Impermanence" CD/LP/Track Review Impermanence
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 17, 2016
Read "MG50 Peace & Fire" CD/LP/Track Review MG50 Peace & Fire
by Mark Corroto
Published: July 12, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!