The Phil Morrison Trio, featuring Keith Williams


Dr. Mac Records

Keith Williams, piano and vocals; Phil Morrison, bass; Barry Green, guitar; Von Barlow, drums

This album features 3 standards/ballads done by trio in a Nat King Cole vein (guitar/bass/piano-vocal,) adding drums for 1 blues standard and additional percussion for 5 originals. I found the results rather mixed. The liner notes cite the groups' spiritual bent, and there's a certain positive or feel-good tone that's apparent, but overall the CD didn't rise to heights that I would call compelling. The ballads are tastefully done, and their "success" will depend on how you like Williams' vocal style and tone. The originals mostly have a Brazilian flavor, with nice arrangements and interplay among the competent musicians in support of Williams, whose vocal include a hint of a lisp and is mixed a bit distantly - I'm not sure what the producer and engineer were aiming for. Overall, this relaxed date had the feel of successfully replicating a lounge environment, providing a certain kind of ambience and entertainment that many will enjoy.

by Howard Feldstein