All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

2

Roger Kellaway Trio: New Standards Vol. 3

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
Trumpeter Carl Saunders is best known for his contributions to jazz orchestras, having put his mighty horn to good use for Stan Kenton, Bill Holman, Maynard Ferguson, Benny Goodman, Gerald Wilson, and numerous other big band leaders of note over the past half-century. Yet his work as a composer may end up being his lasting legacy. Saunders has amassed a considerable body of work—more than three hundred of his tunes appear in a Real Book-style collection titled New Jazz Standards—and he's been showcasing these compositions by handing them off to notable performers for a series of albums for Summit Records. The late Sam Most's final date—also dubbed New Jazz Standards (Summit Records, 2014)—kicked off said project, and trombonist Scott Whitfield took the baton and delivered a second volume of material in 2016. Now, top-notch pianist Roger Kellaway is taking his turn with the Saunders songbook.

Fronting a first-rate trio with bassist Jay Leonhart and drummer Peter Erskine, Kellaway delivers a set that alternately swings and soothes. "Prudence," one of Saunders' better-known compositions, opens the album by cutting against its name. There's nothing cautious about this sunny swinger. Then there's "Dees Blues," a number dedicated to lyricist Michael Dees. Erskine, aligned perfectly with Leonhart's buoyantly shuffling bass, sets that train in motion with a Mel Lewis-worthy feel that perfectly supports Kellaway's excursions, which include some Gene Harris-esque tremolos. The aptly titled "Calming Notion," where Kellaway overdubs a second piano, provides a marked shift in direction, but the laid-back pseudo-bop of "Noodlin" puts the trio back on its cheery track while showcasing Kellaway's remarkable chops and split- handed brilliance.

As the program continues, Kellaway and company deliver more of the same along with a few surprises. Leonhart puts his voice and bow to good use in a humorous blues setting on "Is That Asking Too Much," "Valtzing" calmly bounds along in line with the titular dance, and "Sweetness" proves to be the standout ballad on the set. Add to that a "Hurry Up & Wait" that finds Kellaway and Leonhart syncing up before the trio goes to serious swing town, a solo piano episode of optimistic quietude in "A Verse," and a skulking-turned-cooking blues finale in the form of "Minor Infraction," and then you have a real work of art. But Saunders goes one better, tacking on a balladic bonus track recorded by the trio of Kellaway, bassist Buster Williams and drummer Santo Savino at the 1994 sessions for his first solo album. It may or may not have been necessary, but it's most definitely the cherry on top.

Whether or not these and other Saunders songs will take their place as new jazz standards remains to be seen, but they certainly have merit. And there's plenty more from where these came from: a fourth volume in the series—with guitarist Larry Koonse taking the reins—is already in the works, so we'll be hearing more of Saunders' music in no time.

Track Listing: Prudence; Dees Blues; Calming Notion; Noodlin'; Short Sweet: Walking On Air; Is That Asking Too Much; Valtzing; Sweetness; Hurry Up & Wait; A Verse; Minor Infraction; Forever Again.

Personnel: Roger Kellaway: piano; Jay Leonhart: bass, vocals (7); Peter Erskine: drums.

Title: New Standards Vol. 3 | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Summit Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Point Blank CD/LP/Track Review
Point Blank
by Chris May
Published: August 20, 2018
Read Tell Me The Truth CD/LP/Track Review
Tell Me The Truth
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: August 20, 2018
Read No One Is Alone CD/LP/Track Review
No One Is Alone
by Chris Mosey
Published: August 20, 2018
Read The Literature CD/LP/Track Review
The Literature
by Jerome Wilson
Published: August 20, 2018
Read Between the Silence CD/LP/Track Review
Between the Silence
by John Kelman
Published: August 19, 2018
Read Flying CD/LP/Track Review
Flying
by Troy Dostert
Published: August 19, 2018
Read "Walk The Walk" CD/LP/Track Review Walk The Walk
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: June 21, 2018
Read "Blues and Boogie Vol. 1" CD/LP/Track Review Blues and Boogie Vol. 1
by Doug Collette
Published: December 3, 2017
Read "Loneliness Road" CD/LP/Track Review Loneliness Road
by Doug Collette
Published: October 1, 2017
Read "Happy Song" CD/LP/Track Review Happy Song
by Geno Thackara
Published: October 5, 2017
Read "La Terza Via" CD/LP/Track Review La Terza Via
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: February 9, 2018
Read "1538" CD/LP/Track Review 1538
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 19, 2018