New York City jazz pianist David Janeway and his trio sound as if they're trying to be a force for good in the universe. Secret Passages rides a relentless traditional momentum, rolling along with a positive vibe under the influence of a big push on the refresh button. Oscar Peterson and Bud Powell operated this way, with desinctively different styles.
The bass and drum teamFrank Tate and Chuck Zeuren, respectivelywalk a joyful line between supportive and interactive in their backing of Janeway, as they navigate, with verve and finesse, well-chosen tunes by Cedar Walton, trumpeter Tom Harrell, Jimmy Rowles, Kenny Wheeler, Steve Swallow and Oscar Pettiford, along with three excellent Janeway originals. They craft a lush sound, full of poignancy and introspection on Jimmy Rowles "5023 Blues," they infuse the music with a soulful majesty on Jimmy Van Heusen's "Here's That Rainy Day," and they bounce with buoyant grooves and angular asides on Steve Swallow's "Elderdown."
Janeway's title tune is the prettiest offering, an exploration of quirky beauty; and the closer, "Return," another Janeway-penned gem, has a feeling of tranquil reverie.
In the crowded and talent-filled world of jazz piano trio, Secret Passages stands out. Masterfully conceived and created, sequenced perfectly, it sounds like one of the classics of the genre.
Before You; Cedar's Blues; Elderdown; 502 Blues; Interchange; Here's that Rainy Day; Secret Passages; Laverne Walk; Mark Time; Return.
David Janeway: piano; Frank Tate: bass; Chuck Zeuren: drums.
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