Bruce Lindsey, in his review of Joe Alterman's Give Me The Simple Life, notes that the young pianist has..."the feel of a musician who's been immersed in his chosen music for decades." Citing Erroll Garner, Oscar Peterson and Red Garland as influences, Altman betrays influences that further give bona fides to his experience beyond youth. Chief among these influences is Garland, who held the piano chair in Miles Davis' first great quintet with John Coltrane, Paul Chambers and Philly Joe Jones.
Alterman pegs this pithy, airy style to its core on his second recording, Give Me The Simple Life. Effortless and bottomless swing characterizes trio performances of "An Affair to Remember" from the 1957 film of the same title, the Hammerstein/Kern compositions "Why Do I Love You" and "They Say It's Spring," recalling the great Garland-Chambers-Art Taylor recordings for Prestige in the late '50s. These are quaint, conservative and in the vernacular. Alterman is not so much a throwback, as he is a purveyor of this well-established style of jazz performance.
But Alterman can rock when necessary, as he does on the opening "Georgia On My Mind" with tenor saxophonist Houston Pearson, Oscar Peterson's "Kelly's Blues" and his own blues, "Biscuits." Here, Alterman gets his Gene Harris on, showing off all of his blues chops, driven by drummer Herlin Riley. The remainder of the disc is devoted to ballads, "The First Night Home," "Pure Imagination" and "I'm Yours" all capture those brush-driven show song vehicles that will forever demonstrate the importance of the Great American Songbook and those who plumb it.
Georgia On My Mind; Give Me The Simple Life; The First Night Home; Pure Imagination; An Affair To Remember; I Guess I'll Have To Dream The Rest; Kelly's Blues; Why Try To Change Me Now?; Why Do I Love You?; Biscuits; They Say It's Spring; I'm Yours.
Joe Alterman: piano; James Cammack: bass; Herlin Riley: drums; Houston Person: tenor saxophone (1, 3, 6, 7).
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