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Bill Anschell: When Cooler Heads Prevail

Jim Santella By

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Splitting his session between originals and familiar gems, pianist Bill Anschell brings his third recording as leader to a wider audience. As Nnenna Freelon's musical director in the '90s, he gained experience with the kind of songs that reach out and touch someone. Anschell's web site contains plenty of biographical information. The pianist's arrangement, here, of 'Little Niles' smokes with passion and soulful emotions. Woody Williams provides an array of percussion timbres that leave lasting impressions. The trio provides an emotional session. And yet, there's a coolness to its approach that pleases. Anschell's 'No Hurry' amplifies the cool aspects of jazz that some rely on as stereotype. Yep. Jazz is always there: steady friend with walking bass and ride cymbal. Anschell presents one lovely melody after another and follows that up with adventurous improvisation. His keyboard work brings out crystal clear patterns that sparkle. The session offers variety and fresh material. Anschell's compositions add a wee bit of tension and forceful drama. Driving straight-ahead with spirit, he folds the jazz tradition into his scheme. It's all quite natural. 'Woody's Turn' is a drum feature. Williams steps out with drum set characteristics that turn the session on its ear. In all, Anschell's latest album closely resembles a nightclub set in format and mood. It's just like being there.

Track Listing: Sweet and Lovely; Dear Old Stockholm; Undercurrent Event; Little Niles; No Hurry; La Flor de la Canela; If It Isn't One Thing ?; One More Mile; Woody's Turn; Angels Watching Over Me.

Personnel: Bill Anschell- piano; Randy Jordan, Neal Starkey- bass; Woody Williams- drum set, bata, bongos, congas, cowbell, kono, pandeiro, cajon, rattle, shaker, tan-tan.

Title: When Cooler Heads Prevail | Year Released: 2001 | Record Label: Summit Records

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