Throughout this studio session, Eric Reed shows why many critics consider him to be one of the top pianists of his generation. Well-accompanied by bassist Rodney Whitaker and drummer Willie Jones III, Reed kicks off with a lively interpretation of Benny Golson's jazz standard "Stablemates, on which the shadings and pulse of the rhythm section complement the leader's flights on the keyboard.
John Coltrane's "26-2 is not one of the late saxophonist's better known works, but Reed's elaborate one-handed run sets up a driving arrangement that almost seems to explode. His choice of Rodgers & Hart's ballad "It's Easy to Remember, an infrequently performed gem from the Great American Songbook, is subtle yet never overly maudlin, accented perfectly by Whitaker's spacious bass line and Jones' soft brushwork.
Most of the disc is devoted to Reed originals. The brisk "Kokomo is a thunderous reworking of "(Back Home Again in) Indiana. His angular "I C H.N. (For Herbie Nichols) conjures the spirit of Nichols' intriguing writing and playing style. "Hymn is a reflective miniature piano solo that proves utterly captivating. Both the bittersweet ballad "Wish (For My Father) and the buoyant "Is That...? are excellent showcases for Whitaker.
Eric Reed finishes the date with a flourish as the trio devours whole his intense post bop vehicle "Ornate. The first-rate engineering of this outstanding date gives the listener a seat right in the midst of the band.
Track Listing: Stablemates; Kokomo; I.C.H.N. (For Herbie Nichols); Hymn; Why?; 26-2; Wish (For My Father); Easy To Remember; I Got Nothing; Is That; Ornate.
Personnel: Eric Reed: piano; Rodney Whitaker: double bass; Willie Jones III: drums.
| Year Released: 2006
| Record Label: MAXJAZZ
First time I met Lee Konitz, my mentor who completely changed my life, in 1992. He was giving a masterclass at the Cologne Conservatory (Germany) where I was a freshmen (with playing experience around three years total)
First time I met Lee Konitz, my mentor who completely changed my life, in 1992. He was giving a masterclass at the Cologne Conservatory (Germany) where I was a freshmen (with playing experience around three years total). He saw an alto sax on my neck and said: Hey, how about you there, would you like to play something for us? I played a piece with the piano. OK, said Lee, how about you play something unaccompanied? Oh yeah! I was deep into transcribing Sonny Stitt and pretty much into playing as fast as possible as many right notes as possible. So I played Oleo in about 300 beats per minute and was very proud of myself. Lee was tapping his foot all the way through. Hmm, he said, that was in time and all that... (I thought - yeah, of course, haha!) and then he said, You've got a lot of quantity, how about quality? It took me 15 years to realize what he meant.