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The Mac Chrupcala Trio: One More For The Road

Edward Blanco By

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Pianist-composer, band leader and producer Mac Chrupcala has worked extensively in the southern New England and eastern Canada area for most of his career, and has recently added the southwest Florida (North Port) community to his stomping grounds. A leader of big bands and a veteran player with thirty-five recordings to his credit, Chrupcala's new working trio with bassist Jim Cammack and drummer Bernard Purdie presents One More For The Road, an album that offers stellar interpretations of well- known standards as well as new renditions of compositions not normally associated with the jazz idiom.

When was the last time one has heard a jazz version of the Box Top's 1960s Rock hit "The Letter"? Here, the pianist and crew perform one funky-tinged take of this old wonder in which the melody is not easy to discern, making it sound almost like a new tune. They do it again on the famous John Lennon staple "Imagine," playing it soft and tender, slowing the music down, and staying true to the familiar melody. This is a beautiful piece of music that the bassist and pianist take to heart with their warm solos. The group remains within a gentle mood as they tackle the Victor Shertzinger classic "I Remember You," highlighting some of Chrupcala's best chops on the piano, and accompanied well by more of Cammack's solid bass lines.

The trio swings away playfully on a fiery interpretation of Toots Thielemans's "Blusette" for one of the brightest moments of the disc. They then turn to providing a rather funky approach to the Antonio Carlos Jobim standard "Meditation," linking the funk with the bossa nova like in a way not experienced before. The group's affinity for a little funk continues with their version of the oft recorded Gershwin brothers' "S' Wonderful," which includes "a funk romp anchored by Purdie's thumping tom-tom beat" on what is the most expansive piece of the album, coming in at just short of eleven minutes in length.

Saving some of his best for last, Chrupcala delivers gorgeous lines on the beautiful balladic piece "Have I Stayed Too Long At The Fair" and ends the program with a three-minute solo performance of the Frank Sinatra staple song "One For My Baby and One For The Road." One More For The Road is an amazing journey full of swing, funk and ballads, made all the more enticing by pianist Mac Chrupcala and his collaboration with drummer Purdie and bassist Cammack. Based on their performance on this recording, they deserve recognition as one of the finest jazz trios in the business today.

Track Listing: Summertime; I Love Paris; Imagine; The Letter; Two For The Road; I Remember You; Bluesette; Mediation; S'Wonderful; Have I Stayed Too Long At The Fair; One For My Baby And One More For The Road.

Personnel: Mac Chrupcala: piano; Bernard Purdie: drums; Jim Cammack: bass.

Title: One More For The Road | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Cats Paw


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