Bobby Schiff made this debut as a leader at sixty, after having played on several projects for other musicians over the years. Late Game also gave him the opportunity to play with Stewart Miller and Chuck Christiansen, with whom he has a warm empathy, and to open up his love for Brazilian music and strings. He also added some of his favourite standards.
Schiff wrote two tunes. "Wonder Bop is snap-happy, with Schiff showing his gift for melodic improvisation. His technique cannot be faulted; he dances around in little circles with lyrical ease and lets loose some supple statements. The rhythm section gets the fire going beneath the piano to make this a heady outing. Schiff brings in strings on his other contribution, "Late Game (Sketch of Reflection), a slower, reflective tune. Schiff sets the tone, his playing eloquent; the strings are lush but do little to enhance the effect of the composition.
All the violins and cellos and violas are also used on "Zingaro. There they are better assimilated in the mix and much of the time have a resplendent sweep, but the Brazilian flavour swishes in on percussion and Schiff's perspective on the piano. To close, the leader turns to "Last Night When We Were Young for a solo turn. He plays with fluidity and thought, letting a run of notes change the emphasis and bring a glow to the standard.
Bobby Schiff: piano; Stewart Miller: bass; Chuck Christiansen: drums. Special guests: Paulinho
Garcia: guitar; Geraldo De Oliveira: percussion.