Jon Mayer (p), Bob Maize (b), Harold Mason (d)
Reference: FSRCD 5027
Bar code: 8427328650274
"Jon Mayer's third CD as a leader is an impressive outing at the Jazz Bakery in Los Angeles with bassist Bob Maize and drummer Harold Mason. This date is filled with memorable music, including a dazzling take of "On Green Dolphin Street," an elegant solo performance of "Embraceable You," and a rich arrangement of "If You Could See Me Now." But the works of more recent vintage are just as delectable. Mayer's version of Kenny Barron's "Tragic Magic" has some of the best solos of the evening by each member of the trio. Mayer's subdued ballad "Shari's Bolero" (dedicated to his wife) and his jaunty "RipVan Winkle" are proof that he is an impressive composer, too. Highly recommended."
Ken Dryden -All Music Guide
Rating: * * * * *
Another tasty treat from Jon Mayer and his rhythm mates, both veterans of the Horace Silver band. This one is a live, crisply recorded collection of classics and originals—the one reprise is Mayer’s Shari’s Bolero, the lovely ballad he wrote for his wife.
“Rip Van Winkle” is in the Oscar P. / Monty A. tradition: the paradox of tight trio work with a relaxed and friendly feel. Those who enjoy gratuitous flash and autistic meditations are advised to go elsewhere, as Mayer serves his music straight up, with soul and lyricism and a dash of humor. There isn’t a clunker in the bunch. Mayer’s line technique and satisfying harmonies bring freshness to the standards: he does a beautiful solo reading of Embraceable You, takes Stella out to play, and underscores the wistfulness of Tad Dameron’s If You Could See Me Now. The title track is another enjoyable original (Mayer’s songs have been recorded by Les McCann and Nancy Wilson, among others) as well as a wry reference to his too-long hiatus from jazz. Also included is Tragic Magic, a quirky little swinger from the ever-intriguing Kenny Barron which gives bass and drums room to shine, there’s a great groove on Lionel Hampton’s Red Top and a riotous bebop sendoff with Miles Davis’s The Theme.
Mayer, a veteran of the creative excitement of Fifties jazz clubs in New York City, reminds us how much fun this music can be. “[This CD] was a high-energy, intense musical experience with three old friends who know how to work together… I was smiling like an idiot… I feel I did my job. I made people feel good about having shown up.” In a world increasingly full of museum jazz, it’s good to know somebody has his priorities straight.
Judith Schlesinger—Jazz 52nd street
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