Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
A Trio Setting That Begs For More
Edward Abbott | Stuart, FL USA | 01/31/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a fine all-around set for pianist Marian McPartland. With the assistance of bassist Steve LaSpina and drummer Jake Hanna, McPartland interprets seven standards (highlighted by "I Hear a Rhapsody," "A Sleepin' Bee" and Oscar Pettiford's "Tricotism") plus her own "Melancholy Mood." All of Marian McPartland's Concord releases find her in excellent form, swinging in a fairly modern style that really cannot be categorized.
Marian McPartland has become famous for hosting her Piano Jazz radio program since 1978, but she was a well-respected pianist decades before the national exposure on NPR.
Someone once said she had three strikes against here before she got to the plate. And that she's white, she's a woman and she's British. But with all that against her she has had an enviable career that few have had or can hope to have.
Jazz played in a trio setting is in my opinion the most difficult to get right and give each musician the space needed. I have long held that the jazz chamber music is the pinnacle of the art form.
With that being said very few jazz chamber ensembles have ever had major success. My favorites remain the Oscar Peterson Trio with Ray Brown and Ed Thigpen, then there is the incomparable Bill Evans with Sacott La Faro and Paul Motian, although Bill had other members in the trio setting these are my favorites.
Then enter Marian McPartland whos jazz trio work, stands up to the best there is - PERIOD! Her work in the jazz trio setting is nothing short of tour de force each time she sits at the piano. Everything flows so effortlessly, plus she gives ample time for the sidemen to interact and then the music flows back into th where it began - just magical.
This album Personal Choice on the Concord Jazz Label is Marian in a trio setting with two of her dearest friends and together the put out an album that stands the test of time and is in my opinion one of the great Jazz chamber settings ever put to vinyl.
There is no need for a play- by- play on such accessible music, but Marian's comments on the tunes are illuminating.
I HEAR A RHAPSODY: "I learned this piece by osmosis many years ago, listening to it on the BBC. And I've heard Bill Evans play it, too. I've always considered his the definitive version, and I still do. So it's been a challenge to me to create my own interpretation of the tune."
MEDITATION: "Steve and I started playing it on our duo gigs. That line he created is so simple and so pretty, I really like it We play a lot of Jobim songs, and this one is a particular favorite."
IN YOUR OWN SWEET WAY: "Years ago, Miles Davis was the first to record it, after Brubeck, of course. And that put the Good Housekeeping Seal on it. Miles put a flatted fifth at the end of the first phrase, but it never sounded quite right to me. So I don't play it that way.
A SLEEPIN' BEE. WHEN THE SUN COMES OUT: "Harold Arlen writes wonderful melodies so unusual in their structure that they are always interesting to improvise on. These are two of my favorite Arlen pieces."
I'M OLD FASHIONED: "Another composer I've always loved, Jerome Kern. A lot of people seem surprised that we play this at a medium/Up tempo. I used to do it as a ballad, but it somehow just moved into this faster tempo, and it really feels good this way."
TRICOTISM: "I learned this tune from Oscar Pettiford, who used to come and sit in at the Hickory House. Whata bassist he was! Steve likes to play it, perhaps because it features him! Wonder what Oscar had in mind with that title." (Note: according to the Oxford English Dictionary, tricotism is a medical condition in which there are three undulations for each beat of the heart)
MELANCHOLY MOOD: Marian's former husband, cornettist Jimmy McPartland, gets part of the credit for this tune. "I wrote it years ago. That first phrase came from something Jimmy used to play when he was practicing. So I consider him co-composer. After I played it on the piano, the rest of the tune just fell into place."
The joy of discovery and invention is obvious in Marian McPartland's playing. She has become a major artist But she has not become complacent. Not long ago an interviewer asked her what she considered the peak of her career.
"What a question! I told him I hadn't reached it so far," Marian says with some insistence. "It hasn't happened yet, but I'm working on it"
One of best in her canon and should be in every jazz library, this is one special recording by a national treasure thst she is.
If by some stroke of chance you do not have Marian McPartland cataloged in your library, here is your chance to correct that oversight now. This is some of the best work she ever laid down. This is a must have."