Sting Like A Bee is pianist Mike Longo's follow-up to his well-received Float Like A Butterfly (Consolidated Artists Productions, 2008). Bassist Bob Cranshaw and drummer Lewis Nash join him, and this CD is so laidback and relaxed that it comes as no surprise to read in the liner notes that there was no need to listen to any playbacks. This offering is a tribute to two mentors: Oscar Peterson, with whom he studied for a time as a private student, and Dizzy Gillespie, for whom he was music director on and off for nine years.
As a salute to Peterson, Longo includes a medley of three songs from West Side Story (Longo was present at a rehearsal for Peterson's famous recording date): "Tonight," "I Feel Pretty" (done in a 6/8 tempo) and "Somewhere." On the other side, Gillespie's "Kush" is a virtuosic solo piano interpretation, where the left hand figure is a constant throughout, the right hand playing the melody and improvisation. The rest of the album includes two Wayne Shorter compositions: the boppish "Speak No Evil," featuring some outstanding work by Nash, and "Dance Cadaverous," highlighting Cranshaw's lyrical side. A funky, bluesy "Love For Sale" has Nash and Cranshaw showing off and Longo delivers a slow, understated version of "Speak Low" that shows off the song's beautiful bare bones. Then there are three Longo originalsa pretty bossa "Someone To Love," a fast-paced bop item "Bird Seed" and a traditional blues, "Checked Bags" (title reference is to vibraphonist Milt Jackson).
There is a wonderful flow from one track to the next and a feeling of inclusion for the audience who will listen. This CD should be around for a long while as it has something for everyonedisc jockeys for radio play and individual listeners. Don't be afraid to be stung by this bee!!
Speak No Evil; Love for Sale; Daahoud; Tell Me a Bedtime Story; Someone to Love; West Side Story medley; Dance Cadaverous; Morning; Speak Low; Bird Seed; Checked Bags; Kush.
Mike Longo: piano; Bob Cranshaw: bass; Lewis Nash: drums.