338

Jazz Arts Trio: Tribute

C. Michael Bailey By

Sign in to view read count
Jazz Arts Trio: Tribute The difference between jazz improvisation and composed variations on a theme is that the former is dynamic, while the latter is static. In jazz, improvisation amounts to "spontaneous composition," where a melodic variation over a harmonic skeleton occurs instantly. Improvisations on a theme in this sense are not written down prior to being played. However, these same improvisations can be transcribed after a performance (from a recording). This is what pianist Steven Mayer did on his Art Tatum - Improvisations (Naxos, 2004). Now, classical pianist Frederick Moyer, with Peter Tillotson on bass and Peter Fraenkel on drums—collectively known as the Jazz Arts Trio—extend this paradigm to the jazz trio on Tribute.

Tribute is a collection of 11 famous trio performances transcribed from their recordings by the trio members. The collection is appropriately heavy on Oscar Peterson, whose recordings provide six of the selections. The remaining five pieces were parceled among Erroll Garner, Bill Evans, Vince Guaraldi, Horace Silver and Herbie Hancock. On one hand, there's the temptation to think that performing a completely transcribed jazz performance would be a futile exercise. On the other hand, it is not so different from what classical performers do day in and day out.

While novel at this level, the Jazz Arts Trio's transcriptions and recital are compelling. The trio's performance of the transcription of Bill Evans' 1961 Village Vanguard version of "My Foolish Heart" illustrates the chops and artistry of its members. Moyer proves a careful study of piano styles. His play on Evans has the same light, ethereal touch of the originator, like a wisp of mist. Tillotson's Scott LaFaro impersonation is impressive, if understated, and Fraenkel's Paul Motian is dead on.

To be sure, Bill Evans and Oscar Peterson were very different pianists; Peterson being virile and physical, while Evans is quiet and introspective. This makes Moyer's accomplishment, well, that much more accomplished. Versions of Peterson's "Tin Tin Deo" from Easy Walker (Prestige, 1969) and "Bossa Beguine," from Blues Etude (Limelight, 1965), illustrate both Peterson's rhythmic genius and Moyer's considerable chops.

Moyer approaches these different pianists as he would approach pieces by different composers. The sum of the experience is an increased appreciation for the original performances, and the Jazz Arts Trio's ability to readily summon them up.

Track Listing: Something's Coming (Oscar Peterson Trio); Tin Tin Deo (Oscar Peterson Trio); Bossa Beguine (Oscar Peterson Trio); Watch What Happens (Oscar Peterson Trio); (They Long to Be) Close to You (Erroll Garner Quartet); My Foolish Heart (Bill Evans Trio); Freeway (Vince Guaraldi Trio); Lonely Woman (Horace Silver Trio); First Trip (Herbie Hancock Trio); You Look Good To Me (Oscar Peterson Trio); Blues Etude (Oscar Peterson Trio).

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

Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: JRI Recordings | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read Rags And Roots CD/LP/Track Review Rags And Roots
by James Nadal
Published: April 25, 2017
Read Tangled CD/LP/Track Review Tangled
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 25, 2017
Read Is It Me...? CD/LP/Track Review Is It Me...?
by Edward Blanco
Published: April 25, 2017
Read Live CD/LP/Track Review Live
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: April 25, 2017
Read 14.11.2016 CD/LP/Track Review 14.11.2016
by Nicola Negri
Published: April 25, 2017
Read Malnoia CD/LP/Track Review Malnoia
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 24, 2017
Read "Atmosphères" CD/LP/Track Review Atmosphères
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 13, 2016
Read "Southern Avenue" CD/LP/Track Review Southern Avenue
by James Nadal
Published: February 10, 2017
Read "Playgrounds" CD/LP/Track Review Playgrounds
by Ian Patterson
Published: February 10, 2017
Read "Romance 76" CD/LP/Track Review Romance 76
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 11, 2016
Read "For King & Country" CD/LP/Track Review For King & Country
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 6, 2016
Read "In The Corner Of The Eye" CD/LP/Track Review In The Corner Of The Eye
by Glenn Astarita
Published: July 10, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM RECORDS | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!