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Peter Martin: In the P.M.

Jim Santella By

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Known to most as Dianne Reeves' musical director, pianist Peter Martin takes her stellar touring trio on a musical journey through jazz's heartland on In the P.M.; guest vocalist Erin Bode adds a warm and welcome lyricism to the session. Familiar standards and fresh originals turn the trio loose with unbridled energy.

As Martin interprets "Come Rain or Come Shine" a cappella, he turns it up a notch. His keyboard technique takes him all over the place. Elsewhere, with bass and drums in a cohesive respite, the pianist lights sparks that ignite the music indelibly.

Gregory Hutchinson and Reuben Rogers turn in a stellar performance, both individually and as Martin's musical partners. Leisurely ballads and hard-driving romps allow the trio to express a wide range of emotions. Martin sweeps his melodies in an uplifting fashion, exploring dramatic romps with intuitive play. He and Rogers communicate well, adding octave unisons to the formula on occasion. Their tender-hearted interpretations result in a genuine landscape that's filled with floating melodies and uplifting harmonies. Rhythmically, the trio meets each occasion head-on with soul-stirring confidence.

Rogers' "'Ting for Ray" saunters casually with a Ray Brown walk and blues-hued strides. Featuring Rogers' bass, the trio takes this one to the height of expressive blues. His bass converses with the heartfelt charm of a blues pioneer.

Martin works hard to keep the jazz tradition alive. While appearing around the country with Dianne Reeves, he drives forcefully from the piano bench with a natural sense of musical organization. In a 2002 AAJ interview, he credited Wynton Marsalis for the leadership that has affected him and others around the world amicably. At age 13, Martin's father arranged a meeting between two that has since borne fruit. Thanks to the role model that Marsalis has provided, artists such as Peter Martin stand out as well for their true dedication to the field of mainstream jazz.



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