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Kevin Fort: Red Gold

Edward Blanco By

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Chicago-based educator and jazz pianist, Kevin Fort unveils his debut and first solo album on Red Gold, where he presents an exciting session of light contemporary jazz employing a standard piano trio to document fresh new arrangements of several standards and three original compositions. An active musician in Chicago's vibrant jazz scene for the past fifteen-years, Fort has performed with some of the best jazz players in the world including Wayne Bergeron, John Clayton, Ramsey Lewis and Bill Watrous among others. This experience and degrees from DePaul University School of Music, has armed the young pianist with the background to be a leading voice in the jazz world and this impressive first effort, lays down the foundation for many future successes.

Lending more than appreciable assistance to the pianist here are, Chicago-based bassist Doug Hayes and much in-demand drummer and educator at Loyola University, Jon Deitemyer who, provide the cohesive force that carry the date. The standard "When Your Lover Has Gone" kicks off the shine on this piece of gold with the bass humming, the drummer on the brushes and the pianist displaying his dexterity on the keys as the trio deliver an outstanding rendition of the classic. Fort's title track is quite appealing helped along by the drummer's handy cymbal and stick work and strong bass lines from Hayes as the leader lays down delicate solos statements throughout.

One of Irving Berlin's most underappreciated compositions "I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm," is given a fresh new look that brings the tune to life in a swinging new arrangement. The Leslie Bricusse-Anthony Newley song "Cheer Up, Charlie," is perhaps the warmest spot on an album of generally light balladic material with the pianist starting off the music with a solo introduction before the light brush work and bass join in on a brief but beautiful piece of music.

While the standards and ballad pieces form the meat of this project with gorgeous versions of such iconic tunes as "Never Let Me Go," Clare Fischer's "Pensativa" and a soft and tender treatment of Jim Hall's "All Across the City," there are several swinging tunes to consider. The original "Coastin' In" leaves little doubt that Fort and gang know how to play a burner or two and this one picks up where Berlin's "Keep Me Warm" left off. A highlight of the disc has to be the superb read of Kenny Barron's quick-paced up beat burner "Voyage" where this trio swings mightily.

The ten-piece set closes out on the last Fort original "Whirled and Whirled Above" featuring more bass solos from Hayes, one last sampling of Deitemyer's strong drum work and of course, the leader's impressive skills on the instrument. There's no question about this one, with many memorable phrases and a talented crew in support, pianist Kevin Fort's audacious Red Gold sparkles all over casting a light on one of the young lions of the piano deserving of attention.

Track Listing: When Your Lover Has Gone; Red Gold; I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm; Cheer Up, Charlie; Never Let Me Go; Coastin' In; Pensativa; Voyage; All Across The City; Whirled and Whirled Above.

Personnel: Kevin Fort: piano; Doug Hayes: bass; Jon Deitemyer: drums.

Title: Red Gold | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Self Produced


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