50 years ago, modern jazz piano trios would barely be recognizable to the majority of their counterpartsexcept perhaps Bill Evans' trio. Today, cutting-edge jazz trios require interaction between players and expect both drummer and bassist to be more than just disciples. Trio leaders such as Jason Moran, John Escreet, Matthew Shipp all write and perform their music as a three-way conversation. Add to that list, London-based pianist Jonathan Gee.
The disc opens with the propulsive "Beyond." Gee's piano runs, chest-bumping against the zealous vigor of Waits attack. This heady music clears the sinuses and opens up the lungs. If it weren't for the amazing communication between players, songs like "Black Ball" would seemed prejudiced and rocky. But, with Lepore's pulse, and he isn't in the business of keeping time, the maelstrom is contained and Gee's message is coherent. In fact, it swings very, very hard.
Like Moran, Gee composes with a sense of both jazz canon and contemporary sounds. He can lift a sweet melody such as "Tortadilla" and transition from a hummed blues melody into bits and pieces of acrobatics. Often, Gee's sleight-of-hand involves the blues. He negotiates a modern sounding "Cream Of Mandarins" with a fleeting passage of blues and two-handed attack, all the while with Waits in full agitation mode. The cross-roads meeting with Lepore is all to service the tune.
The summation of this trio is in Monk's "We See." Gee negotiates the track as if he is taking shorthandhopping, skipping and jumping as he accelerates across the melody. It's modern, it's Monk, and it's a three-way conversation.
Track Listing: Track #1; Track #2; Track #3. Beyond; Dragonfly; Black Ball; Tortadilla; Cream Of Mandarins;
Yellow Ball; We See; Cicada.
Personnel: Jonathan Gee: piano; Joseph Lepore: double bass; Nasheet Wait: drums.
I met Erroll Garner at The Theatrical Grill in Cleveland a few hours before our family was to see him on stage at Severance Hall. That was 45 years ago and I was only 15! I spotted him nearby in a booth wearing a beautiful tux with a great white napkin draped over him! I was a little nervous as I approached him (he was eating shrimp cocktail) and said, Mr
I met Erroll Garner at The Theatrical Grill in Cleveland a few hours before our family was to see him on stage at Severance Hall. That was 45 years ago and I was only 15! I spotted him nearby in a booth wearing a beautiful tux with a great white napkin draped over him! I was a little nervous as I approached him (he was eating shrimp cocktail) and said, Mr. Garner, I love playing the piano... is there any advice you could give me?'' He hesitated, then looked back at me and said, Keep playin' and don't stop!'' That was great advice because at 60 years old, I'm still playin' and haven't stopped!