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Glenn Zaleski: My Ideal

Dan McClenaghan By

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Pianist Glenn Zaleski had a couple of classic 1959 Bill Evans touchstones on his mind— Everybody Digs Bill Evans (Riverside Records) and Portrait in Jazz (Riverside Records)—when he recorded his debut, My Ideal, setting his own piano trio table with a batch of time-tested Standards along with a couple of originals from composer friends of his. Almost every modern pianist digs Bill Evans. The influence is on Zaleski's sleeve, and he and his interactive trio do a fine job of presenting a program in spirit of the iconic pianist, with a straight forward melodic approach, intricate harmonies, and a superb display of their own collective and individual personalities.

Opening with a jaunty "Nobody Else But Me," from the pen of Jerome Kern, the trio's drummer Craig Weinrib and bassist Dezron Douglas slip into a pocket and pulse the music ahead for Zaleski's sparkling touch. This is livelier than most Bill Evans offerings, more outgoing, without losing a gorgeous Evans-esque cerebral quality. "Waltz for MD" bustles in an angular fashion, featuring Zelaski in an exuberant and percussive mood, and Jule Styne's "Make Someone Happy" has Zelaski lightening up on his touch for a lovely, floating, reverent rendition of the tune. On Charlie Parker's "Cheryl" Zaleski is frolicsome inside a deep bass/drums groove.

The set is in large part a traditional piano trio effort. It also drives up into a very likeable modern jazz mode on—of all tunes—the old war horse, "Body and Soul." Zelaski intros by skirting the melody in a fluid fashion, with Douglas and Weinrib acting as equal partners in the effort. Bassist Douglas finds the melody and lays down the familiar notes to Zaleski's sparkling comp, before the pianist takes it over and plays it out.

The set that opens with Jerome Kern, closes with that venerable composer's "I'm Old Fashioned." The trio's take on the tune is anything but "old fashioned." Ravi Coltrane sits in. The saxophonist takes the music into the clouds. The trio goes orchestral behind his extended intro, before driving into a skittish rhythm. Coltrane blows free, on a modernistic highlight of a top flight recording.

Track Listing: Nobody Else But Me; Waltz for MD; Make Someone Happy; Cheryl; Body and Soul; Rel; Arietis; My Ideal; I'm Old Fashioned.

Personnel: Glenn Zaleski: piano; Craig Weinrib: drums Dezron Douglas: bass; Ravi Coltrane: saxophone: (9)

Title: My Ideal | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Sunnyside Records

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