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Another album of Cole Porter songs played by a piano trio?? Yes, and it is a welcome addition to both Cole Porter and piano combo recorded literature. The leader of the group, Beegie Adair is no newcomer to jazz piano having been in the business for more than 30 years. Playing out of Nashville, TN which, surprising or not, is moving up as a jazz Mecca, but not to the extent that it rivals country music..yet, Adair applies her experience, well-honed technique and laid back virtuosity to 14 Cole Porter entries from the Great American Songbook. Over the years, Adair has listened to and more important, heard the work of the best of her contemporaries. You can hear Oscar Peterson, Erroll Garner, Junior Mance and others she has drawn from to establish her distinct approach to the keyboard which comes to fruition on this album.
Happy, tasteful, merry and relaxed all are adjectives which can be used to describe Adair's playing. Most of the performances are upbeat serving as a platform for a cool, dazzling technique. One of the merriest on the set is "From This Moment on". In addition to the refreshing piano interpretation of Cole Porter's melody forKiss Me Kate, this cut allows Chris Brown to lay on some heavy drum breaks. There's exotic Brazilian tempo for "I Concentrate on You" which seems to be a favorite tune among pianists to apply a Latin beat to. For "What Is This Thing Called Love," Adair turns vamp, traipsing up and down the keyboard as she lays on well placed arpeggios. This time Brown chips in with running drum rolls. But it's not all upbeat as Adair gets plaintive as she addresses the question "Why Shouldn't I"." Every Time We say Goodbye" is the favorite track for me. Adair manages to grab hold of the full meaning of this one of Porter's more accomplished compositions and wring every ounce of passion from it.
This is not a groundbreaking, seminal performance by any means. But Adair and her trio offer an hour of delightful music by one of America's great composers of popular music. And the offering is done in such a way as to give a fresh perspective to oft played standards. Recommended indeed.
Track Listing: You'd Be So Nice to Come Home to; You're the Top; I Love Paris; So in Love; I Concentrate on You; Dream Dancing; I Love You; What Is This Thing Called Love; Easy to Love; Every Time We Say Goodbye; It's all Right with Me; Why Shouldn't I; From This Moment on; Begin the Beguine
Personnel: Beegie Adair - Piano; Roger Spencer - Bass; Chris Brown - Drums
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.