265

The Chip Stephens Trio: Holding On To What Counts

Jerry D'Souza By

Sign in to view read count
The Chip Stephens Trio: Holding On To What Counts Pianist Chip Stephens shows his fine sense of melody and improvisation on this recording that strikes the right balance between original material and standards. They work well within the trio format, particularly with Ken Walker (bass) and Todd Reid (drums) providing solid support.

Stephens is colorful in his improvisations and gives harmony and dynamics a firm voice. This helps him navigate tunes from pianist Thelonious Monk and trumpeter Horace Silver with the same facility performed in his own compositions; the latter influence showing a preference for the blues and slower tunes that are rife with melody.

My Little Package serves as a fine example of Stephens' playing style and skill as a writer. It is a blues tune, but Stephens swings it nicely enough showing an emphatic chord hand that lets the melody flow and ebb. The stops and starts only go to accentuate the improvisation and with Reid and Walker in step, this package grabs attention.

Smiles Surrender is a pensive piece. Stephens ruminates with deliberation, notes falling like a soft rain. Even in that, he shows an authority with emphatic runs, pushing the pulse, then drawing back and nestling once more in calmer waters. Reid's drumming accents sparingly, with cymbals shimmering, letting their sound flow into the body of the composition to give it added dimension.

Aside from Monk and Silver, Stephens also has pianist McCoy Tyner's "Passion Dance, an up tempo stream that surges forward. Stephens drives the bop tune hard, the momentum constant and resonating from an ornate cluster of notes. Stephens essays composer/songwriter Cole Porter's "Pretty Little Puppet with a gentle approach before upping the tempo in a dazzling array of notes that never clutter the tune's path.


Track Listing: Cookin at the Continental; Pretty Little Puppet; Everything I Love; Epistrophy; Smiles Surrender; Passion Dance; Holding on to What Counts; Beans & Weenies; My Little Package; Medley: Up a Lazy River, Sweet Georgia Brown, Dig.

Personnel: Chip Stephens: piano; Ken Walker: bass; Todd Reid: drums.

Year Released: 2007 | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2) CD/LP/Track Review TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2)
by Nicola Negri
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Goat Man & The House of the Dead CD/LP/Track Review Goat Man & The House of the Dead
by Dave Wayne
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by James Nadal
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read "Kaleidoscope Eyes: Music of the Beatles" CD/LP/Track Review Kaleidoscope Eyes: Music of the Beatles
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 6, 2016
Read "Blooming Tall Phlox" CD/LP/Track Review Blooming Tall Phlox
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 16, 2016
Read "The Pauper And The Magician" CD/LP/Track Review The Pauper And The Magician
by Ian Patterson
Published: January 17, 2017
Read "Streams" CD/LP/Track Review Streams
by Mark Sullivan
Published: October 2, 2016
Read "Canto América" CD/LP/Track Review Canto América
by James Nadal
Published: March 7, 2016
Read "Mediterrana" CD/LP/Track Review Mediterrana
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: July 14, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!