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Andrew Dickeson: Groove!

Dan McClenaghan By

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You've got to love a lack of pretense. Australian drummer Andrew Dickeson's Groove! seems—initially at least, with the set's opener, "I'm Old Fashioned"—to be introducing a breezy and unpretentious piano trio affair. The tune has a carefree bounce, and the old put-down of "cocktail piano jazz" comes to mind—though what exactly is wrong with music from a top-notch, deep-in-the-groove cocktail piano trio has never been adequately explained. Maybe the guy who came up with that just had to have horns in the mix.

Digression aside, the name Ahmad Jamal comes to mind on that opening tune. Pianist Wayne Kelly's touch is light, sparkly, and eases into a deliberate, tender side of sound with Duke Ellington's "Prelude To A Kiss." The album covers mostly familiar territory—four well known Duke Ellington tunes, Thelonious Monk's "Bye-Ya," Irving Berlin's "How Deep is the Ocean," Arthur Atlman's "All Or Nothing At All." All of these are laid down in a roomy fashion, allowing ample room for insightful improvisation. "All Or Nothing At All" pop's along on a rhumba beat with the "Poinciana"" groove; "How Deep..." swings gently with some beautiful digressions; and Ellington's "Creole Love Call" caresses an achingly beautiful blues mood.

The sole non-cover on Groove!, "Mr. Hank Jones," is the trio's pianist Wayne Kelly's nod to late piano master, capturing the grace and elegance of Jones to perfection on this airy waltz.

Monk's fun and happy number, "Bye-Ya," shines—the trio has a way of crafting an uplifting mood with the up-tempo tunes. They also—as they do with "Creole Love Song"—mold pure introspective loveliness on Ellington's "Come Sunday," closing this superb piano trio set out perfectly.

Track Listing: I'm Old Fashioned; Prelude To A Kiss; All Or Nothing At All; Take The Coltrane; How Deep Is The Ocean; Creole Love Call; Mr. Hank Jones; Bye Ya; Come Sunday.

Personnel: Adrew Dickeson: drums; Rodney Whitaker: bass; Wayne Kelly: piano.

Title: Groove! | Year Released: 2019 | Record Label: Self Produced

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