Make a difference: Support jazz online

Support All About Jazz Your friends at All About Jazz are looking for readers to help back our website upgrade project. Of critical importance, this project will result in a vastly improved design across all devices and will make future All About Jazz projects much easier to implement. Click here to learn more about this project including donation rewards.

98

Ezra Weiss: Get Happy

Eyal Hareuveni By

Sign in to view read count
The third release by New York-based pianist/composer Ezra Weiss is a sophisticated and optimistic conceptual statement about the search for happiness through original composition, clever references, intimate and nuanced playing, and updating the Great American Songbook with fresh arrangements. Weiss is joined by fellow alumni from the Oberlin Conservatory and Queens College—bassist Corcoran Holt and drummer Jason Brown—as well as esteemed teachers, including master drummer Billy Hart (who taught Weiss at Oberlin) and alto saxophonistAntonio Hart (who taught Weiss at Queens).

Weiss opens the original "For Heather," a beautiful instrumental arrangement for tenor sax and Andy Hunter's beautifully expressive trombone. Weiss borrows the introduction to the standard "Once Upon a Time" from Bill Evans's "Peace Piece," before Austrian singer Heidi Krenn's hushed and clear performance contrasts the opinionated playing of Weiss, Holt and Brown. The Brazilian-tinged arrangement of "It's You or No One" features an assured tenor solo by Kelly Roberge. Antonio Hart shines with emotional charged playing that does not succumb to sentimentalism throughout Weiss' heartbreak ballad, "What I Can Never Say."

Weiss thoughtfully re-harmonizes the more optimistic standard "Blue Room," aided by Billy Hart's inventive drumming and Samantha Grabler's straight-ahead singing. Weiss turns the popular standard "Get Happy" upside down; a short but brilliant solo piano performance that jumps between genres and styles. He wisely bases the introduction to Rodgers and Hammerstein's "You'll Never Walk Alone" on Carla Bley's "Ida Lupino," enabling Holt to build a well-articulate solo. This new arrangement refreshes a popular standard that has become, over the years, a worn-out anthem for football clubs all around the world (e.g. Pink Floyd's tribute to the English Liverpool football club on "Fearless," from Meddle (Harvest, 1971)).

The Gershwins' "He Loves and She Loves" is interpreted as a song about stressed relationship and frustrated, unrequited love. Weiss switches to Fender Rhodes on his original "Run Under the Foundation," a funky, tight tune that features Turkish-born singer Elif Caglar's soulful scatting and another impressive tenor showcase by Roberge. Weiss close this enjoyable release with another gospel/funk tune, "Don't Need No Ticket," that borrows its title from Curtis Mayfield, with close interplay between trumpeter Kevin Louis and Andrae Murchison.


Track Listing: For Heather; Once Upon A Time; It's You Or No One; What I Can Never Say; Blue Room; Get Happy, You'll Never Walk Alone; He Loves and She Loves; Run Under the Fountain; Don't Need No Ticket.

Personnel: Ezra Weiss: piano, Rhodes (9, 10); Kelly Roberge: tenor saxophone (1, 2, 7, 8); Andy Hunter: trombone (1); Corcoran Holt: bass (1-5, 7-10); Jason Brown: drums (1, 2, 4, 7, 9, 10); Heidi Krenn: voice (2); Billy Hart: drums (3, 5, 8); Antonio Hart: alto sax (4); Samantha Grabler: voice (5); Elif Caglar: voice (9); Kevin Louis: trumpet (10); Andrae Murchison: trombone (10).

Title: Get Happy | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Roark Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Lucas CD/LP/Track Review Lucas
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: January 22, 2018
Read In Paris: The Definitive ORTF Recording CD/LP/Track Review In Paris: The Definitive ORTF Recording
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: January 22, 2018
Read D'Agala CD/LP/Track Review D'Agala
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 22, 2018
Read Not Bound CD/LP/Track Review Not Bound
by Don Phipps
Published: January 22, 2018
Read Not Nearly Enough To Buy A House CD/LP/Track Review Not Nearly Enough To Buy A House
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 21, 2018
Read Journey to a New World CD/LP/Track Review Journey to a New World
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 21, 2018
Read "Rush" CD/LP/Track Review Rush
by Chris Mosey
Published: December 30, 2017
Read "Extremophile" CD/LP/Track Review Extremophile
by John Eyles
Published: April 11, 2017
Read "Road Songs For Lovers" CD/LP/Track Review Road Songs For Lovers
by Doug Collette
Published: September 30, 2017
Read "Moments Captured" CD/LP/Track Review Moments Captured
by Andrew Luhn
Published: May 12, 2017
Read "Unnatural  Events" CD/LP/Track Review Unnatural Events
by Roger Farbey
Published: August 16, 2017
Read "Left Right Left" CD/LP/Track Review Left Right Left
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 21, 2017