A big-band arranger with two Grammy nominations to his name, Alan Broadbent has simultaneously maintained successful recording careers as arranger, pianist, and bandleader. A staunch advocate of the trio, Broadbent adds his latest release, You And The Night And The Music,
to nine previous recordings in that format. Featuring veteran drummer Joe Labarbera and bassist Brian Bromberg, the current Broadbent trio presents polished, consistently well-executed versions of seven standards, capturing with dedicated élan the classic rhythms and tone of the trio’s past. In fact, Broadbent’s delivery is so steeped in nostalgia that the trio’s improvisations take on an almost hermetically sealed tone that, while admittedly refined, leaves the music sounding constrained by its own dignity.
Each member of the band seems to approach the album’s selections like an old friend, so well-known that the conversation has become rote, worn to a smooth, pleasant rhythm, so utterly comfortable that, though lacking the fascination of new discovery, it somehow remains eminently satisfying. At least to the participants. To the observer, the endless and at times meandering anecdotes and chuckled references can become tedious. Perhaps this is why Broadbent’s album works better when overheard than addressed directly.
Hovering in the background, the music establishes a warm, welcoming tone similar to the murmured conversations overheard at a bar. And just like these conversations, the music can provide moments of startling interest when dipped into briefly. A particularly witty run, a subtle drum solo, an extended display on the bass. However, once engaged fully, one quickly realizes this is a party to which you haven’t been invited.
Listening to You And The Night And The Music transports one back to a time when bars had live bands. Groups tucked themselves into corners, honing their ability to set a tone, fill in gaps in conversation, and provide lone drinkers a moment’s respite. At least the album reminds one of movies that tell us those bars existed, and that’s what sustains its appeal.
Track Listing: 1. You and the Night and the Music 2. I wish I Knew 3. With the Wind and the Rain in Her Hair 4. Baubles,
Bangles, and Beads 5. Ceora 6. What's New 7. Dearly Beloved.
Personnel: Alan Broadbent: Piano;
Brian Bromberg: Bass;
Joe Labarbera: Drums.
Year Released: 2003
| Record Label: A440 Music
| Style: Contemporary/Smooth