Paul Tillotson, piano; Mike Merrit, bass; James Wormsworth, drums
Gene Harris (a good guy to have on your side) introduces the album and exhorts a blast--and Paul Tillotson takes him at his word. You get the feeling he is playing at home and just having fun, nay, indulging in a big slice of maniacal glee. This means, of course, that there is not much courteous deference to be heard here; these guys are to my ears simply digging what they are doing.
What also emerges is Tillotson's ability to write melody (hallelujah!). His "Morpheus" may sound like something a private eye may use as background music to lighting up a Lucky on a dark night, but this is a very strong tune that should one day be blessed with a lyric.
Generally, though, there is a whole lot of romping going on, with bassist Mike Merritt and drummer James Wormsworth doing their considerable best to make sure Tillotson keeps rolling.
Then with "4 PM" Tillotson pulls another strong melody out of the hat, and we see that this guy is more than just a good pianist. Is it derogatory to call a tune "pretty"? Well, who cares? There is some lovely melody here, and one doesn't get the impression that the musician simply took a chunk of improvisation and called it a tune.
"Dot.Dot.Dot" is in the best Gene Harris style. Which means pretty funky and, moreover, the guys even manage to turn Lennon and McCartney's "Blackbird" into a semigospel.
The album is in the best tradition of pure unaffected pleasure heard among musicians doing their thing. Here's to it and more of the same.
By Lawrence Brazier