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Eric Lewis: Hopscotch

Jim Santella By

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Eric Lewis
Fortress Records

The Eric Lewis trio interprets a program of swinging originals and several standards for this video performance that is duplicated on CD. The package comes with both.

Recalling the hip, yet classical nature of the Modern Jazz Quartet, the trio moves gently through smooth impressions that follow the mainstream bandwagon. A song tribute to Thelonious Monk and a fiery, blazing-fast, solo piano diatribe on "Cherokee" stand apart from the rest. So do Lewis' Tatumesque showcases on "Thanksgiving" and "The Church Picnic," where he pounds the piano keyboard with a distinctive flair. He's at ease throughout, letting the music swing naturally and allowing it to soothe gently. Several other selections are performed a cappella, but the emphasis is clearly on the opening tunes, where the pianist's stellar trio rambles cohesively. They gather up the shreds of mainstream jazz, assemble all the pieces together in a logical manner, and produce a wholesome concert performance made for all audiences.

Video clips are available at

The BET on Jazz portion of the DVD lets you enjoy the scene at a club, with audience, dancing, atmosphere, and good music.

Track Listing: Alasum; Love Letters; Calamari; Puerto Rico; Pinocchio; Hopscotch; The Philly Groove; Monk; Cherokee; Thanksgiving; The Church Picnic; Blessed Assurance; Ruth in Blue; I'll Always Miss You.

Musicians: Eric Lewis: piano; Paul Beaudry: bass; Ralph Penland: drums.

Program notes: DVD Producer: Judy Morton; DVD Executive Producer: Trevor Lawrence; 60 minutes. Special Features: Interviews with Eric Lewis, Paul Beaudry, Ralph Penland; Interview with Wynton Marsalis on Eric Lewis and his music; Television appearance, as seen on BET Jazz.


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