All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

338

Jazz Arts Trio: Tribute

C. Michael Bailey By

Sign in to view read count
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.

Title: Tribute | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: JRI Recordings

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Otherworld Music

Otherworld Music

Bel Air Jazz
2008

buy
Tribute

Tribute

JRI Recordings
2008

buy

Related Articles

Read First Impressions CD/LP/Track Review
First Impressions
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 25, 2018
Read Dream Theory In Malaya: Fourth World Volume Two CD/LP/Track Review
Dream Theory In Malaya: Fourth World Volume Two
by Chris May
Published: February 25, 2018
Read In Stride CD/LP/Track Review
In Stride
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 25, 2018
Read Osmosis CD/LP/Track Review
Osmosis
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 25, 2018
Read Stax Singles, Vol. 4: Rarities & Best of the Rest CD/LP/Track Review
Stax Singles, Vol. 4: Rarities & Best of the Rest
by Jim Trageser
Published: February 25, 2018
Read You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To CD/LP/Track Review
You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 24, 2018
Read "The Groove Cubed" CD/LP/Track Review The Groove Cubed
by Geannine Reid
Published: October 29, 2017
Read "Vintage Christmas Trio" CD/LP/Track Review Vintage Christmas Trio
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 3, 2017
Read "Let's Groove: The Music of Earth Wind & Fire" CD/LP/Track Review Let's Groove: The Music of Earth Wind & Fire
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 1, 2017
Read "What Brought You Here?" CD/LP/Track Review What Brought You Here?
by Troy Dostert
Published: July 20, 2017
Read "Blue Skylight" CD/LP/Track Review Blue Skylight
by Jack Bowers
Published: March 12, 2017
Read "Vessel in Orbit" CD/LP/Track Review Vessel in Orbit
by Don Phipps
Published: January 19, 2018