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Gary Brunotte's piano trio provides a lovely session of lyrical ballads and gentle reflection on Smile, a tribute album dedicated to Dexter, the pianist's family pet who passed away at age fifteen. Judging from the album cover photo, he must surely have left behind pleasant memories and golden moments that remain frozen in time.
Ten originals and four standard tracks allow Brunotte to tell his story openly. From the blues of "Seal-Point Strut to the quaint bossa mood of "Triste, the session rises and falls with emotions bared and passion revealed. Kirsten Lambert adds lovely vocals on "Smile and "Triste that settle in gently to extend the album's caressing mood. Dexter adds a cat-vocal comment to close Brunotte's light "Meow Samba, a lively, up-tempo romp that dances on padded feet.
Ciao Meow simmers slowly and meaningfully with a lush piano trio texture all around, while "Samba Siamese drives with the energy of a kitten toying with some insignificant household item that harbors an interest for nobody else but him. For the most part, this recommended piano trio album waltzes generously to a balladeer's tune, bringing bassist Steve Haines and drummer Bill Berg alongside Brunotte for an excursion into the land where heart and soul take control. His Smile is as beautiful as a cherished and lasting friendship.
Track Listing: Ditty for the Kitty; Merry Old Land of Oz (Paws); Wood Lake; Smile; Seal-Point Strut; Meow Samba; In the Night; Morning Mist; Triste; Blue-Point Blues; Classicat; Samba Siamese; Ciao Meow; Smile.
Personnel: Gary Brunotte: piano, percussion, accordion, organ; Bill Berg: drums, percussion; Steve Haines, Rick Jones: bass; Kirsten Lambert: vocals.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.