We had the Modern Jazz Quartet, sometimes tagged MJQ, from 1952 untilafter a stop and start or twothe early 90's. They were a class act, playing in formal attire, playing classically-influenced jazz with a dollop (sometimes more than a dollop) of the blues. Restraint and laid back complexity was the name of the game.
Now we have the Montreal Jazz Trio (we could call them MJT, though there is no indication that they have ever claimed that title) who play with their own elegant style, decidedly earthier and zingier than MJQ's, for the most part, and minus Milt Jackson's vibes. The trio opens the set with "All Those Lovely Things," itself a lovely thing, penned by their pianist, Steve Amirault. It brims with optimism and joy of life, leading into "My One And Only Love," a much-recorded Great American Songbook tune. The MJT swings it mightily before moving on to another Amirault original, "Empathy." The sound here is more sedate and stately, as it asks for peace during turbulent times.
The Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn gem, "Take the 'A' Train," strides along with a jaunty step, an assertive trio dynamic on full display. Another songbook tune, "Takin' A Chance On Love" has some flash, bringing pianist Oscar Peterson's style to mind, while the Amirault-penned "Nowhere," based on the standard "Out Of Nowhere," has a contemplative vibe, featuring a muscular bass solo from Adrian Vedady, with drummer Jim Doxas settled into a rock-steady groove.
The record wraps up with "Answer Me My Love," recorded by Nat King Cole in 1954. The Montreal Jazz Trio's take on the tune is an instrumental version, but the lyrics tell a story of love lost, the narrator not knowing what it is he has done wrong, why he lost that love. The puzzlement and sadness of the mood is captured here to perfection by the Montreal Jazz Trio.
All Those Things; My One And Only Love; Empathy; Take the 'A' Train; Takin' A Chance On Love; Nowhere;
Wray; Soho Dreams; Answer Me My Love.
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