It takes a lifetime to become a real artist. Mozart, with all his talent, didn't write any mature music until he was twenty-five years old. What a task to take on and Sarah Jane Cion has done just that, with all the pain and non-glory that goes with being an artist. Cion is a pianist who meets this standard and is no copycat.
Cion has recruited a group of emotional and sensitive musicians for Summer Nights, and they enrich the album to a high professional level. Drummer Billy Hart is a world famous sideman, and the late saxophonist Michael Brecker was equally in-demand, in addition to being a leader in his own right. Cion has received many wonderful reviews and awards, and her hard work and effort to produce something original has paid off.
Cion is a harmonic player, with her own, unique approach to voicing. She's also a hard-driving rhythmic performer, with a percussive nature and compelling sense of swing. She can also be smooth and melodic, but what differentiates her is her harmonic originality. Her ability to play right hand melodic solos is exceptional, and on the same level as all the great pianists, past and present.
Cion chooses tunes of different rhythmic styles and formats, from smooth waltzes and ballads to hard-driving Latin tunes and all-out swinging hard bop tunes. Brecker guests on the title track, playing the soft melody but soloing with a gentle feel that's about swinging eighth notes, providing a sharp contrast. Brecker was an all-out modern technical player, coming from the John Coltrane school and that of big band swinging tenor players.
Cion's piano trio reflects the wonderful styles that Bill Evans and Chick Corea helped create, evolving the tradition with outstanding harmony and unique chord patterns.
Phil Palombi is a solid bassist from the Maynard Ferguson school, laying down solid lines with strength and a big tone. Hart is a group player who supports the music at all times, never getting in the way of the tune
Cion's music is very gentle and sensitive, though at times powerful and driving in the style of Chick Corea.
Track Listing: Never Never Land, Part B. Pure Imagination; Walking On the Moon; Summer Night; Gabrielle; Stage One; Prisoner Of War; Safflower; Solo Piano Medley.
Personnel: Sarah Jane Cion: piano; Phil Palombi: bass; Billy Hart: drums; Michael Brecker tenor sax (3, 6).
I love jazz because next to my kids, it's the love of my life.
I was first exposed to jazz by Joe Rico from a tiny station in Niagara Falls in 1954 when I was 13.
The best show I ever attended was Maynard Ferguson who blew the roof off Massey Hall in the late 50s.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to everything you can and then listen again.