Gregg Kallor, a young 20 something pianist out of Connecticut, has released his first album which focuses on his compositional creations, plus four standards just to show that he can handle those great perennials of American Popular Song. The outcome is salutary, laid back, elegant piano trio music lasting for almost 70 minutes. Judging not only from his playing, but from his writings about one of his somewhat more renowned peers, he clearly admires the style and approach of Brad Mehldau and uses some of the same minimalist devices. There is also the lyrical, melodic influence of Bill Evans lurking in the background. These influences come together with excellent effect on such cuts as "Every Time We Say Goodbye" where, after stating the melody, Kallor engages in delicate unpretentious invention with the major theme. His own works take on a similar elegant, gentle motif. They are well conceived and thought out pieces, gentle and introspective, that carry the listener along like a toy boat slowly slewing down a small stream. Some, such as "255" (two versions) are short, lasting less than two minutes (no artificial chords here just to make the song last longer) to an eight minute "Lost", a lilting invention that frequently changes key, rhythm and perhaps is the most intense piece on the set. Kallor is joined by compatriots of like musical philosophy, Chris Van Voorst Van Beest on bass and Kendrick Scott on drums.
It's reassuring to know that the future of modern mainstream jazz is in the capable hands of such young and accomplished players as Kallor. The pianist has a comprehensive web page at www.greggkallor.com.
Track Listing: The Voice of Reason; On Green Dolphin Street; There's a Rhythm; Double Down; Every Time We Say Goodbye; 255; Lost; So in Love; You're My Everything; Coral Peak; The Last Word; 255
Personnel: Gregg Kallor - Piano; Chris Van Voorst Van Beest - Bass; Kendrick Scott - Drums
First time I met Lee Konitz, my mentor who completely changed my life, in 1992. He was giving a masterclass at the Cologne Conservatory (Germany) where I was a freshmen (with playing experience around three years total)
First time I met Lee Konitz, my mentor who completely changed my life, in 1992. He was giving a masterclass at the Cologne Conservatory (Germany) where I was a freshmen (with playing experience around three years total). He saw an alto sax on my neck and said: Hey, how about you there, would you like to play something for us? I played a piece with the piano. OK, said Lee, how about you play something unaccompanied? Oh yeah! I was deep into transcribing Sonny Stitt and pretty much into playing as fast as possible as many right notes as possible. So I played Oleo in about 300 beats per minute and was very proud of myself. Lee was tapping his foot all the way through. Hmm, he said, that was in time and all that... (I thought - yeah, of course, haha!) and then he said, You've got a lot of quantity, how about quality? It took me 15 years to realize what he meant.