Cyrus Chestnut, piano; George Mraz, bass; Lewis Nash drums; Teodross Avery, tenor and soprano saxophones
Trio jazz, plus one, from four guys who need little introduction. Mraz and Nash must be two of the hardest working men around right now, they seemed to get called by just about everyone. Chestnut is also not exactly what you might call under-recorded. Teodross Avery (on tracks 1, 4 and 7) is a little harder to find, but what he has done has been performed with some really solid musicians. The trio run through what is given as a dedication to Grover Washington, Jr. Avery takes on Dexter Gordon's "Catalonian Nights" with a reticent sound, yet still approaching the author's fullness, and he sure has some of the licks of the master on hand. The rhythm guys give great support and this one comes out just fine. Chestnut shows his sensitivity on Denny Zeitlin's "Quiet Now" - with Mraz moving beautifully with him before contributing his own reflective solo. Back to Dexter and "Cheese Cake" (track 6), and we really miss Avery's tenor here. This could have been his barnstormer. Chestnut gets a good roll going, however, and we are mollified. Nash and Mraz, of course, are as good as it gets. Avery comes in on soprano on his own "Peace and Love" (track 7), displaying his command of that enfant terrible of all instruments with aplomb and a characteristic wailing swirl. We are obliged to assume that Grover was into Smetana because the set finishes with the "Moldau" and here is Mraz giving his all, with Chestnut rippling appropriately behind him. A good CD, one for fans who dig Jazz performed with assurance and a certain professional feeling of "Hey, we can do anything." And they can.
by Lawrence Brazier
(Available at Jazz Now Direct)
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