Reference: SA 035
Bar code: 8427328450355
The trio formula with piano, guitar and double bass that the Nat King Cole Trio started around 1950 has had an evident continuity. Many pianists have led similar formations. Let’s mention Art Tatum, Oscar Peterson and Monty Alexander as some of the most remarkable examples. This is the formula that Gerard Nieto has chosen when it came to organizing his trio and recording this CD.
Gerard Nieto belongs to the generation of pianists who had to fill the painful gap left by the disappearance of Tete Montoliu. Luckily, a solid group of high caliber pianists has been coalescing in Catalonia since Tete died, to the point where maybe we are not missing him as much as we would have otherwise. Gerard Nieto is an important member of that group.
His career as a member of different formations (La Vella Dixieland, la Big Band Jazz Maresme, Shakin’ All…) has consolidated him as one of our best piano-jazz representatives. His latest step has been the formation of this trio with two excellent musicians: Kike Angulo on guitar, and Pere Loewe on bass.
Kike Angulo, with a deep knowledge of the history of jazz guitar, can adapt to any style and provide with inspiration, creativity and skill, the most appropriate nuance to each stylistic circumstance. Pere Loewe shares this same flexibility and aptitude for adaptation, and gives at all times priority to the rhythmic component of the bass, essential in this case, given the absence of a drummer.
With such a pleasant repertoire made up mainly of standards and other genre regulars, the trio offers us the kind of jazz that highlights the essence of this music, that which shapes its identity and has made it loved the world over. We mean of course, its rhythmic qualities—that is, the swing. But also the kind of expressive resources used to give the instrumental phrasing used, the kind of warmth and sensuality which distinguish the vocal music of black Americans.
We find these rhythmic qualities in Stompin’ at the Savoy, played at a very fitting medium tempo, conducive to the same kind of deep, relaxed swing which we find again in Just Squeeze Me; in their unabashed rendition of Perdido, rousing and full of bite and in Reunion Blues, full of exciting rhythmic contrasts. This is just to highlight a few tracks, but swing is king all through the album, leading the work of the musicians in every single track.
The expressive abilities of the trio are put to the test in the lovely I Want a Little Girl, with some delightful phrasing during the exposition, as well as in the guitar and piano solos; Django Reinhardt’s famous Nuages, is delivered with exquisite tenderness and musicality by Kike Angulo; and most of all Willow Weep for Me, a tune of deep, bluesy undertones which showcases the skill of Pere Loewe as a soloist. To round things up, and give even more shine to their renditions, the trio works on brief arrangements, where the phrasing of all instruments is perfectly synched, giving the group consistency, and a richness of timbre and harmony that few ensembles of this kind have achieved.
Gerard Nieto and his trio have given us with this CD one more reason to be happy about our local classic jazz scene, and a feeling of confidence in the future of this music, which has to fight every day, making an effort to keep its place on the spotlight of popular music in this country.
—Ricard Gili, President of the Catalan Foundation Jazz Clàssic
"You might not expect a set of the standards played by a piano, guitar and bass trio without drums to be very exciting. Nor did I - but this group have a freshness and warm spontaneity that is very appealing. It’s a closely knit trio in the best tradition, with piano and guitar swapping solo chores almost seamlessly and bassist Loewe backing and playing interesting counter lines throughout.
A very slow piano introduction to Little Girl works well as guitar chords and bass shadow Nieto faithfully all through. Angulo’s short slow solo continues the mood. A lively Perdido swings all the way with Angulo producing fresh lines and good support from his colleagues. Stompin’ At The Savoy is introduced by bassist Loewe and he contributes through the length of the piece along with tasty solos from piano and guitar. All these tunes are well known except for Oliver Nelson’s Step Right Up but it is a tribute to these three musicians that they find something fresh on such well-worn material.
In an unusual reversal of the norm, the final track, Just Squeeze Me, is extended to include an uncredited Sweet Georgia Brown. An unheralded bonus track!"
Jazz Journal (June, 2017)
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