Jimmy Amadie: In a Trio Setting & Live at Red Rocks

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By Stephen McGrath

Jimmy Amadie
In a Trio Setting: A Tribute to Frank Sinatra
TP Recordings

Mr. Amadie has accomplished what some might call his "impossible dream." Once a promising pianist, Amadie was struck with severe tendonitis early in his professional career. Not to say Mr. Amadie didn't have many professional triumphs, playing with the likes of Woody Herman's band, Mel Torme, and Red Rodney to name a few. But it became too painful for him to play for extended periods of time and, rather than give up music, he began teaching others his singular techniques. In A Trio Setting: A Tribute to Frank Sinatra , Mr. Amadie's third album but first trio venture, took almost five years to complete due to his condition. Unlike other trio albums Mr. Amadie recorded his parts of the tracks first before the bass and drums were cut.

Mr. Amadie appears to be channeling the spirit of Ol' Blue Eyes. It is not that the ten tracks on the album, eight standards and two Amadie original compositions, are Sinatraesque in the usual manner. The songs are a tribute to Mr. Sinatra's uncanny ability to give the listener music filled with surprise as to what will happen next. Mr. Amadie's arrangement of "Night and Day," which Sinatra recorded numerous times, takes the traditional melody and throws it out the window. This new version of a standard is at times so exciting and fresh that you will marvel at Amadie's skills as an arranger and pianist. One of his original compositions, "Going Home," is a solemn piece that closes the album. With this, we are treated to Amadie's abilities as a composer. It could be the epilogue to The Voice's unprecedented career.

Jimmy Amadie Trio
Live at Red Rocks
TP Recordings

On the heels of the release of In a Trio Setting, Amadie went back in the studio to record another album. The "concept" of this album became a tribute to Tony Bennett. Unlike the previous album, it was recorded live due to medical advances that allow him to play for longer periods of time. Live at Red Rocks was recorded in less than seven months and Amadie even invited the great alto saxophonist Phil Woods to play on a few tracks. Once again the album features a carefully selected group of popular standards and some of the pianist's original compositions. One in particular is "Baby Blue," which becomes a wonderful ballad delivered with gusto courtesy of Woods' sax and Amadie's piano. Listening to these new albums from Mr. Amadie, only the third and fourth of his long career, begs the question, what have we missed? What have we missed, indeed.

In a Trio Setting
Tracks: 1 I'm Getting Sentimental over You 5:30 2 Here's That Rainy Day 5:56 3 Gone but Not Forgotten 5:47 4 Love for Sale 8:16 5 I Thought About You 6:23 6 You're All We Want to Be 5:45 7 Night and Day 4:29 8 Body and Soul 5:57 9 Just in Time 3:38 10 Going Home 6:10

Personnel: Jimmy Amadie: Piano; Steve Gilmore: Bass; Bill Goodwin: Drums.

Live at Red Rocks
Tracks: 1 The Thought of Losing You 8:36 2 Baby Blue 7:39 3 You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To 5:49 4 Stella by Starlight 7:31 5 This Can't Be Love 6:16 6 The Very Thought of You 6:32 7 Come Rain or Come Shine 5:44 8 Phil the Woods With Music 5:48

Personnel: Jimmy Amadie: Piano; Steve Gilmore: Bass; Bill Goodwin: Drums; Phil Woods: Alto Sax.

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