Pianist Jill McCarron's latest recording, Jazz Motif, gets off to a flying start with Will Anderson's irrepressible alto saxophone setting the pace on a fiery rendition of "All God's Chillun Got Rhythm" and his radiant flute showcased on John Lewis' groovy "Concorde." Alas, Anderson isn't heard again until Tracks 7 (Clare Fischer's "Ontem a Noite") and 9 (Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Chovendo Na Roseira"), both on flute, and uncases the alto only one more time, on Horace Silver's buoyant "Cool Eyes."
That's not meant to imply that McCarron's trio is less than engaging on its own, only that more of Anderson's Cannonball Adderley inspired alto would have been warmly welcomednot to mention his flute. On the other hand, this is McCarron's gig and she's entitled to call the shots, and so the trio (McCarron, bassist Paul Gill, drummer Andy Watson) goes it alone on seven of the album's dozen trackswhich would be a letdown if they weren't so remarkably sturdy and resourceful. McCarron, who in 1995 won the thirteenth annual Great American Jazz Piano competition in Jacksonville, FL, is a superb soloist who comps with perception and assurance. Gill and Watson provide admirable support while earning extra credit whenever either is called upon to solo, which is often.
The trio is superb on the standard "My Ideal" and half a dozen jazz originals, closing with an explosive medley of Bud Powell's "Glass Enclosure" and "Tempus Fugit" (with Watson outstanding on brushes, Gill likewise on arco). While Anderson's five appearances must be regarded as highlights, simply because he adds spice and flavor to the mix, McCarron's trio is impressive on its own terms, and Jazz Motif is a bright and pleasing session from start to finish.
All God’s Chillun Got Rhythm; Concorde; My Ideal; One for Amos; Short Story; Looking
Out for Number 7; Ontem a Noite; Lined with a Groove; Chovendo Na Roseira; Cool Eyes;
Jump for Joy; Glass Enclosure/Tempus Fugit.
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