All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

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

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Before You Know It [Live In Portland]

Before You Know It...

Roark Records
2015

buy
Before You Know It [Live In Portland]

Before You Know It...

Roark Records
2014

buy
 

Our Path to This...

Stretch Records/Universal Classics and Jazz Japan
2013

buy
Our Path To This Moment

Our Path To This...

Roark Records
2012

buy
The Shirley Horn Suite

The Shirley Horn Suite

Roark Records
2011

buy
Get Happy

Get Happy

Roark Records
2008

buy

Related Articles

Read Alive In The East? CD/LP/Track Review
Alive In The East?
by Chris May
Published: June 22, 2018
Read Love Stone CD/LP/Track Review
Love Stone
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 22, 2018
Read Empty Castles CD/LP/Track Review
Empty Castles
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 22, 2018
Read Myths and Morals CD/LP/Track Review
Myths and Morals
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: June 22, 2018
Read The Sum Of My Pardon CD/LP/Track Review
The Sum Of My Pardon
by Jim Olin
Published: June 22, 2018
Read Postcard Collection CD/LP/Track Review
Postcard Collection
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 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 "Thought You Knew" CD/LP/Track Review Thought You Knew
by Roger Farbey
Published: February 5, 2018
Read "Resting Spirit" CD/LP/Track Review Resting Spirit
by Troy Dostert
Published: October 13, 2017
Read "Sing Me Some Cry" CD/LP/Track Review Sing Me Some Cry
by John Sharpe
Published: December 6, 2017
Read "Aladdin's Dream" CD/LP/Track Review Aladdin's Dream
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 12, 2017
Read "Somewhere In The Upstream" CD/LP/Track Review Somewhere In The Upstream
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 3, 2018