Representing the other half of a two-release project from drummer Peter Erskine's Fuzzy Music label that also includes Worth The Wait (2008), with trumpeter Tim Hagans and the Norrbotten Big Band, Standards is exactly what the title impliesa session of old standards with a couple of new acquaintances thrown in for good measure. In an attempt to come as close as possible to the sound produced in a concert experience, the recording was made in an acoustically live space and enhanced with two pair of KMF Audio Stereo Tube Microphones.
Performed by a veteran trio that also features pianist Alan Pasqua and bassist Dave Carpenter, the music is rhythm-based light jazz taken from the Great American Song Book and played in a straight-ahead style that comes across with warmth and elegance.
Opening with the Sinatra staple "The Way You Look Tonight, Pasqua leads the music with light touches on the keys, giving way to an extended solo by Carpenter and putting a new face on this old classic that composers Jerome Kern and Dorothy Fields would not recognize. The Van Heusen/de Lange cushy ballad, "Deep In a Dream, features Erskine's soft brush strokes, which he employs many times throughout the recording.
The drummer uses the cymbals and picks up the sticks for a rather interesting rendition of Dizzy Gillespie's "Con Alma that swings to a different rhythm and beat than the original, while Pasqua performs magnificently on a beautiful interpretation of "It Never Entered My Mind. The group goes on to play delicious versions of standards including "Speak Low, "I'm Old Fashioned and "I Could Have Danced All Night, but none of these match the intensity and energy conveyed by their performance of "I Hear a Rhapsody, clearly the best cut on the disc.
Completing a two record release that stretches the range in performance from featuring new music with the big band sound to the limited voice of a small combo, Standards represents the other side of Erskine's musical personality with a repertoire of familiar tunes that jazz audiences will love.
The Way You Look Tonight; Dear Old Stockholm; Deep In A Dream; Con Alma; It Never Entered My Mind; Speak Low; I'm Glad There Is You; I Hear A Rhapsody; I'm Old Fashioned; I Could Have Danced All Night.
Alan Pasqua: piano; Dave Carpenter: bass; Peter Erskine: drums.