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Jazz Arts Trio: Swing of Many Colors

Franz A. Matzner By

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For the most part Jazz Arts Trio's Swing of Many Colors presents relatively sedate recreations of recordings by some of jazz's most famous piano trio greats, including Ahmad Jamal, Red Garland, Oscar Peterson, and Keith Jarrett.

Clearly a labor of love, each tune is meticulously reproduced with the fine attention to detail only a pet project can achieve. All three players are astute practitioners and their devotion to the trio form bleeds through, especially on pieces like "Night Train," All the Things You Are" and, "Matrix." Equally apparent is their own satisfaction in solving the difficult puzzle they crafted for themselves—for it cannot be said that navigating the maze of notes and rhythmic inventiveness of the Oscar Peterson, Keith Jarrett, or Chick Corea trios was an easy task.

However, considering the wealth of recorded music available today and the plethora of opportunities to listen to modern jazz live, it remains a mystery precisely why trio mates Frederick Moyer (piano), Peter Tilloston (bass), and Peter Fraenkel (drums) launched their project to transcribe and reperform classic outings of some of jazz's most famous trios in the first place. While certainly a technical achievement and pleasantly listenable, the result leaves a nagging doubt as to the necessity of placing so much emphasis on resurrecting past performances—including those of musicians who are still performing today.

At the end of the day, Swing of Many Colors's appeal can be reduced to the archeological. And while the endeavor of converting improvisational jazz into a fully notated music does exhibit a certain cleverness, it may have been better confined to the classroom or the private musings of these three estimable players.

Track Listing: The Pershing Suite: But Not for me; The Surrey with the Fringe on Top; Moonlight in Vermont; Music! Music! Music!; There is No Greater Love; Poinciana; Woody ‘n You; What’s New; Billy Boy; Night Train; Fly Me to the Moon; All the Things You Are; For All We Know; Matrix.

Personnel: Frederick Moyer: piano; Peter Tillotson: bass; Peter Fraenkel: drums.

Title: Swing of Many Colors | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: JRI Recordings

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