Bob Brookmeyer (p), Mads Vindig (b), Alex Riel (d)
Reference: CHR 70103 CD
Bar code: 0608917010329
Besides his trombone, Bob Brookmeyer plays the piano aswell, although not many albums can be found on which he is actually playing this instrument. On this CD he does, and in what a way. Together with two Danish world-class musicians, Mads Vinding on bass and Alex Riel on drums, Brookmeyer sets into motion a highly deliberate process, where an equal number of standard tunes and original compositions are give a new inner life by the use of simple means. Not by being turned upside-down and changed beyond recognition, but by being embraced by a person with a great musical heart. They are briljant and heartfelt all at once.
"Although Bob Brookmeyer played piano in addition to his regular instrument, valve trombone, while he was working with Jimmy Giuffre and in both the small and big bands led by Gerry Mulligan, as well as on other sessions, this is his first exclusive outing on the instrument since the recording of "The Ivory Hunters," his famous duo piano date with Bill Evans, some 40-plus years later. Producer Peter Larsen overcame Brookmeyer's numerous objections that he wasn't up to the task; the results are more than satisfying. With bassist Mads Vinding and drummer Alex Riel, he develops interesting approaches to half a dozen time-tested standards. "The Man I Love" is economical and occasionally dissonant, while his reworking of "I Thought About You" has a well-disguised introduction and later a Latin flavor as the rhythm section joins him. "I Should Care" is transformed into a troubled, somewhat darker setting, but he follows it up with a joyful, foot-tapping "Things Ain't What They Used to Be" that surely reflects the song's title; it comes out sounding like an original by Brookmeyer. As one of the top (and most under-appreciated) arrangers and appreciated composers at the dawn of the 21st century, Brookmeyer's originals stand up very well to close scrutiny. "Summer Song" is his brisk reworking of George Gershwin's well-known "Summertime." The pretty ballad "Pastoral" contrasts with his playful (and at first, deceptively simple) "Stupid Song," which builds from an initially repetitious two-note theme.
Brookmeyer would never claim that he has the greatest chops on piano, but the way in which he makes use of his talent on the keyboard is of far more interest than the CDs by up-and-coming full-time pianists with great technique but little knowledge of what to do with it."
Ken Dryden -All Music Guide