It's tribute time as Roger Kellaway tinkles the keys in homage to Oscar Peterson. On Heroes, Kellaway dwells mainly on tunes from the repertoire of Peterson's trio with Herb Ellis and Ray Brown, even working with a similar lineup alongside bassist Dan Lutz and guitarist Bruce Forman. There is some diversion; Kellaway tips his hat in the direction of Benny Golson, includes a tune done by the later edition of Peterson's trio, and also adds an original.
Getting into a swinging groove right off, Kellaway stamps "Killer Joe with a strong left hand and jumps into the blues with his right. He keeps the tune on a tight leash, letting it go on occasion to get a flurry of notes into the frame. Kellaway has a sense of direction: even if there are times when he seems about to careen off course, he scarps back in time and avoids the pitfall.
He countenances the ballad "Midnight Sun with a laid-back air, playing with a spare, gentle touch while engaging in a soft conversation with the limber Lutz. Forman is comfortable in any setting. He slips into a tune and draws it out in all of its three-dimensional splendour. He has the vantage point on "Nuages, his wide-ranging tonality lighting a quiet fire for a marvellous exposition of the piece. Kellaway is in an introspective mood on "Hymn to Freedom. He breaks up the melody often with chords and improvised runs, and the result is choppy and rather unsatisfying. Despite that sidestep, the music overall has snap and sparkle.
Killer Joe; Cotton Tail; I Was Doing All Right; Nuages; Night Train; I'm Smiling Again; Midnight
Sun; Moton Swing; 52nd Street Theme; Hymn to Freedom.
Roger Kellaway: piano; Bruce Forman: guitar; Dan Lutz: bass.
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