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Born in Canada, pianist Bryn Roberts has enjoyed a prolific career as a session artist since moving to New York City in 2001. Snuggled within a modern mainstream vibe, his persuasive compositions pay homage to melodic content, often complemented by saxophonist Seamus Blake's burly delivery and fluid lines. Nonetheless, many of these works contain quite a bit of bounce and pop, as Roberts is a shrewd technician who knows when to balance power and restraint, alongside a light touch amid his deftly articulated phrasings.
Roberts incorporates two time-honored standards into the track mix within the scope of his impressive original comps. He gives Cole Porter's "In The Still Of The Night" the brisk swing treatment, serving as a good indicator of his sensitivities to song-form and the reimagining of a frequently covered pop tune. Here, the pianist lushly states the melody but doesn't overdo the sugary aspects, all the while dishing out Bill Evans-like single note flurries via tension and release statements and linearly rendered harmonics. Roberts incorporates a few bars of Latin-jazz leading to punchy choruseswhere drummer Jonathan Blake peppers and pushes the proceedingsthen uses space as a vehicle for the musicians to breathe and regenerate the primary theme. Hence, Roberts sparks an effervescent and freshly envisioned reworking of a piece that has been covered countless times over the years by jazz and pop artists.
Personnel: Bryn Roberts: piano; Seamus Blake: tenor and soprano saxophones; Orlando
LeFleming: bass; Jonathan Blake: 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.