166

Ted Rosenthal: The 3B's

Dr. Judith Schlesinger By

Sign in to view read count
Ted Rosenthal: The 3B's
One of the many advantages of indie CDs is that they don't have a sell-by date: you can miss their debut and still write about them. This one stayed in its shrink wrap for over two years, overlooked in the ever-growing pile in my office, but when I finally freed it, just recently, I knew I had to send up a flare.



Ted Rosenthal is a wonderfully elegant pianist: strong, flowing, lyrical and clean, he's one of the best we've got, despite his comparatively low public profile (although musicians universally respect him). On this solo CD, he swims happily in Gunther Schuller's third stream, bridging the divide between jazz and classical with grace and imagination. The "3Bs" of the title refer to the music of Bud Powell, Bill Evans, and Beethoven, which Rosenthal honors in this well-paced and delightful session.



The recording opens with a transcendent version of Gershwin's "I Loves You Porgy," which Evans "put on the map" for pianists, and closes with a masterful "Tea for Two" in 5/4. In between there are signature tunes, among them Evans's "Turn Out the Stars" and "Waltz for Debby," and Powell's "Parisian Thoroughfare" and "Tempis Fugit." While I've always been an Evans fan, it took this CD for me to really understand Powell's genius.



But the biggest revelation was Rosenthal's take on Beethoven, particularly his improvisations on the fabled "Pathetique" sonata. As a pianist who's wrestled with that monster myself, I deeply appreciate his distillation of its melodic and harmonic elements into jazz. His choices are nothing less than brilliant, illuminating the timeless essence of the piece in a different language and mood.



Rosenthal has that rare gift of unfussy expressiveness. He has chops to burn, but uses them to serve the emotional heart of the music. He deserves to be far better-known, and so does his trio work—as in the remarkable 2001 Threeplay trio CD, with Dennis Irwin and Matt Wilson, also on Playscape, where his compositional talents are evident. I was late to the party on that one, too, but better late than never. Much better.

Track Listing

I Loves You Porgy, Tempus Fugit, Improvisation on Beethoven's "Pathetique" Sonata, 2nd Movement; Turn Out the Stars, Wail, I'll Keep Loving You, Improvisation on Beethoven's "Pathetique" Sonata, 3rd Movement; Waltz for Debby, Celia, Parisian Thoroughfare, Improvisation on Beethoven's Sonata op. 109, 3rd Movement; Tea for Two

Personnel

Ted Rosenthal, piano

Album information

Title: The 3B's | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Playscape Recordings

Post a comment about this album

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

Read Rhythm City
Rhythm City
Ptah Williams, Larry Kornfeld, Rob Silverman
Read Stringers & Struts
Stringers & Struts
Rempis/Parker/Flaten/Cunningham
Read Live In Maui
Live In Maui
Jimi Hendrix Experience

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.