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Chad Lawson Trio: Unforeseen

Dan McClenaghan By

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Nothing particularly earthshaking or groundbreaking here; just a well oiled piano trio going after an engaging set tunes, melody in the forefront.

Pianist Chad Lawson has an ear for fine melodies on this collection that mixes standards, a few rock tunes, and four of his own first rate compositions.

The set opens with "Past Reference," a Lawson original: a slightly sad atmosphere with flashes of right hand brightness that sounds like a tune you've heard before, Lawson playing in front of a gently propulsive rhythm. The original leads into Sting's "Every Little Thing She Does is Magic," with the same insistence in the rhythm—Zack Page's cushioned, propulsive bass, Alfred Sergel's textured timekeeping.

The thing that keeps coming back to me on this one is how reverent the trio is to the original melodies of the familiar tunes, while adding just a hint of an edge to freshen them. And while Sting's song—and the Beatles' "Michelle" and Soundgarden's "Black Hole Sun"—give the set a modern appeal, for this ear it's the standards that push things over the top: Arlen and Mercer's "My Shining Hour"—beautiful; and a fittingly pensive take on "In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning."

A perfectly paced set of well-chosen covers mixed in with some inventive and appealing originals.

Track Listing: Past Reference, Every Little Thing She Does is Magic, Litttle Person, Michelle, In the Wee Small Hour, Unforeseen, Black Hole Sun, My Shining Hour, Alone Together, So You Said

Personnel: Chad Lawson—piano; Alfred Sergel—drums; Zack Page—bass

Title: Unforeseen | Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Summit Records

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