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The Washington D.C.-based trio Three for All is that rarest of things in today's jazz world - a working band. And the strong sense of familiarity and group cohesion that can only be developed during countless nights together on the bandstand is evident on Premonition , the trio's solid new release on ALM Records.
Drummer Lenny Robinson - a veteran of tours with the likes of Ahmad Jamal, Lou Donaldson and Don Braden, and a current member of Stanley Turrentine's band - is the group's elder statesman and the album's producer. Robinson and his young cohorts, pianist Allyn Johnson and bassist Mykle Lyons, are all established jazz educators with superb chops and a deep knowledge of the modern jazz idiom. Together, they deliver an album of highly enjoyable straight-ahead jazz with a heavy dose of blues and funk.
Johnson is the trio's primary composer, contributing six originals, including the powerful opener "David and Goliath," with its hints of Coltrane and McCoy Tyner, the hymn-like "Sacred Dance," and "Goodbye Kenny," a moving tribute to the late pianist Kenny Kirkland. "Cat's Dance" offers a taste of the Washington, D.C. funk-dance beat called go-go, played by the trio behind a poetic recitation (not a rap) by baritone Steve Bryant. Rounding out the set are "O.S.," a high-energy original by Lyons, a faster than usual take on the standard "There Will Never Be Another You," and a romp through the Tommy Flanagan blues, "Freight Train." All in all, a satisfying effort that proves jazz is in safe hands in the nation's capital.