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Daily articles carefully curated by the All About Jazz staff. Read our popular and future articles.

LIVE REVIEW

Peter Zak Quartet at Smalls Jazz Club

Read "Peter Zak Quartet at Smalls Jazz Club" reviewed by David A. Orthmann

Peter Zak Quartet Smalls Jazz Club jny:New York, NY December 18, 2020 One of a handful of rotating camera angles from Smalls Jazz Club offered a view of Peter Zak's hands on the keyboard of a Yamaha grand. This vantage point spoke volumes about the opening set of Zak's quartet. Despite a fair amount of evidence to the contrary, jazz piano doesn't have to be loud and frenetic to make an impact. Zak's ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Peter Zak: The Disciple

Read "The Disciple" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

Peter Zak has put out one strong trio affair after another, yet his work is often overlooked. Maybe it's due to the fact that he hasn't settled on one lineup for an extended period of time, preferring to try out different combinations for his trio recordings; or maybe it's because he doesn't stray far from the straight-ahead path; or maybe it's simply dumb (bad) luck. Regardless of the root cause of said overlooking, it's a real shame that Zak doesn't ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Peter Zak: The Disciple

Read "The Disciple" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

Pianist Peter Zak had a transcontinental shift from Los Angeles to Columbus and Kent Ohio and, finally, to New Your City, where he has remained since 1989. He has released critically well-received CDs for the Danish SteepleChase label: The Eternal Triangle (2012), Nordic Noon (2011) and Down East (2011). He returns with the present trio recording, The Disciple. The jazz market is a small land finicky one. It is really no longer possible to simply put together ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Peter Zak: Down East

Read "Down East" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

Block chords, swinging touch, trio setting, full-throated playing: this must be Red Garland. No, its New York City pianist and composer Peter Zak and his loquacious piano style, tasteful and full-bodied. Down East is Zak's sixth release for the Danish Steeplechase label. Zak's piano approach is easily stated, even and uniformly dense. His Ornette Coleman ("Invisible") reveals a connection with Thelonious Monk ("Gallop's Gallop") and a spiritual kinship with Clifford Brown ("Tiny Capers"). “Tiny Capers" was featured ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Peter Zak: Down East

Read "Down East" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Pianist Peter Zak and his superb trio went into the studio to swing on Down East, and swing they did. Opening with Duke Pearson's “Is That So?," Zak displays a light touch and a sparkle and shine not unlike that of Red Garland or Oscar Peterson, with ubiquitous bassist Peter Washington and drummer Rodney Green locking the rhythm into a tight foundational groove for Zak's bright ebullience. On a set of well-chosen standards mixed with lesser-known gems, and with the ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Peter Zak: Blues on the Corner: The Music of McCoy Tyner

Read "Blues on the Corner: The Music of McCoy Tyner" reviewed by Joel Roberts

McCoy Tyner has justifiably been heralded as one of the most important jazz pianists of the past 50 years, both for his seminal work with the classic John Coltrane Quartet in the 1960s and for the four decades of consistently exhilarating work as a leader that followed. But while his heavily percussive style, unique chord voicings and the sheer emotional force of his playing have influenced countless followers, he has seldom been appreciated for his contributions as a composer. That's ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Peter Zak: My Conception

Read "My Conception" reviewed by Terrell Kent Holmes

Pianist Peter Zak, a heralded talent in the trio setting, flies solo on his excellent My Conception, where he skillfully dissects and reconstructs a roster of originals and standards, giving them depth of character and unrealized poignancy.

Zak's originals are ambitious and diverse. He plays the mercurial “Shala with building emotion and lyricism as his boundless ideas grow exponentially. He deftly explores every harmonic and melodic possibility of the beautiful “Mahmoud's Memory, telling a story that is complex yet uncluttered. ...


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