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The straight-ahead piano trio that Ron Surace brings to the forum keeps the swing tradition alive while imparting a personal share of the music's qualities.
As Tatsu Aoki's soul-stirring bass introduces the group's exotic interpretation of "Caravan," you get the feeling that this familiar face is about to receive a facelift. Sure enough, drummer Dave Pavkovic adds a light syncopated texture that boldly ushers in Surace's unique impression of this classic piece with wire brushes. The pianist rebounds up and down with authority. His furious tirade contrasts with the drummer's light touch. Together, they create an exotic impression that swings hard.
"Cabin in the Sky" swings gently with a subtle passion. Much of the session drifts gently in like manner, with walking bass, wallpaper drums, and a forceful pianist. Surace delivers a powerful statement on "Softly, as in a Morning Sunrise," as his trio interprets this standard with a unique temperament. This standard and several other trio interpretations give the session a hearty quality.
"Sister Sadie" beckons as a solo piano conversation, steeped in the blues and tempered with a virtuosic hand. Surace gives this one a shot in the arm. "Until the Real Thing Comes Along" and "My Foolish Heart," on the other hand, get a warm, comforting hand. Solo piano interprets these two pieces lovingly, and with passion. Similarly, "Here and Now" closes the session with a lone balladeer's heartfelt cries. The pianist, working alone, leaves his audience with a dream to build upon.
Track Listing: I'm Beginning to See the Light; Caravan; Deed I Do; Image; Until the Real Thing Comes Along; Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams; My Foolish Heart; Softly As In a Morning Sunrise; Cabin in the Sky; Sister Sadie; Skylark; Funkalero; I'll Be Around; Here and Now.
Personnel: Ron Surace- piano; Tatsu Aoki- bass; Dave Pavkovic- drums.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.