Bruce Barth, piano; Ugonna Okegwo, bass; Al Foster, drums
Classic piano trio Jazz. What do you do when it gets this good? You feel grateful, that's what. The man is a big name at the recording studio down St Louis way and he more than contributes to the building of the company reputation. Barth is co-producer for this CD, featuring a handful of originals and three Monk numbers, plus a couple of standards. Okegwo on bass is nicely forward, which is often the secret to a swinging date. Foster fills with aplomb on the first number, "Little Ditty" (which reminded me of "Johnny One Note"), and with a determined swing on the rest. The first time I ever heard "Star Eyes" was when I was a kid and somehow acquired an LP by the Australian Jazz Quartet (they had a vibes player, too). This version is taken at a pretty easy lope, with Barth bonging some lovely chords. Foster clips rim shots on "In The Still Of The Night" and they sure do rattle off this number with marvelous drive, and a frantic Barth right hand. The three Monk pieces again prove what a great writer the man was, and Barth reawakens the genius, with not a little genius of his own in the Monk overflow which comes out as the Barth original, "Days of June." We are back to straight-ahead grooving on Barth's "Prospect Avenue Blues." This a thumb popper and you are going to feel immensely hip when you cop it. Rampant chords, the sort of stuff that makes Jazz, well, Jazz. The audience loved it. A lovely ramble on the equally lovely "When The Sun Comes Out," is how Barth takes the set home with this solo version. The entire 65 minutes are a joy. Very highly recommended.
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