Reference: FSRCD 927
Bar code: 8427328609272
After the warm reception received by the reissue of the first Standards album by the V.I.P. Trio, we are proud to present now Standards, Vol.2. Both albums were originally issued in 1988 and 1989, solely for the Japanese market, and now they receive worldwide distribution.
Bassist Pat Senatore produced these sessions, which puts him in the legendary company of pianist Cedar Walton and drummer Billy Higgins. Senatore’s soulful and lyrical bass shines in a program of standards tunes, recorded in audiophile quality sound.
In the mid 1980s, Walton had relocated to California, working up and down the coast, out to Japan, and back to New York when he was booked there. Senatore had a record deal with Japanese businessman Ken Akemoto, who stopped over in Los Angeles to record a handful of albums. The bassist chose Walton —even then one of the standard-bearers of mainstream jazz piano— though they had never worked together before. Higgins was Walton’s drummer of choice and had been the house drummer at Senatore’s Malibu jazz club Pasquale’s.
Though Senatore was the leader of the record, he respectfully shared billing with Walton and Higgins under the name of The V.I.P. Trio. The musicians came to terms easily, and the results were gratifying to all concerned. Walton’s masterful piano, Senatore’s soulful bass and the dancing sticks of Higgins made for a magical a combination that could scarcely be topped.
“Once upon a time there was a tavern…”
If you were a jazz fan, life was good in the 1980s. For just $5-10, you could go to one of a plethora of clubs and see artists ranging from Joe Henderson, Horace Silver, Zoot Sims, Lee Konitz and Chet Baker to Elvin Jones. Jazz clubs were all over the place; Donte’s, Catalina’s, The Jazz Bakery, Concert By The Sea, The Lighthouse, Spazios and Charlie's were just a few of the places you could hit any day of the week. There were nights were I’d go out with my buddies and hit three different clubs at night, starting at 8 and ending at one, and each show was SMOKING!
“Those…were…the…days my friend, we thought they’d never end”
One of the hipper clubs was right on the Malibu coast. Pasquale’s was run by bassist Pat Senatore, who made his name with Herb Alpert back in the “Taste of Honey” and “Lonely Bull” days. He, along with drummer Billy Higgins and pianist Cedar Walton comprised the “home rhythm section” for visiting artists when they’d come around on a tour. Not only that, but when they played, you could hear the waves outside creating a sublime rhythm section of its own. Was life really this good? YES!!
This is the second volume of recordings that this swinging trio made back in March of 1988, and it serves as a definition of what a jazz trio is supposed to sound like. Higgins, arguably the most joyful drummer in the history of jazz, is bouyant throughout, as he sashays with his brushes on “But Beautiful,” Shaps with the snare on the intro to “The Song Is You” and sizzles with delight on “Triste.” Senatore does a delightful line on “Autumn in New York” while Walton glistens on “What’s New” charms your socks off on “Prelude to a Kiss” and exudes passion on “Spring Is Here.” Together, they do a delightful Latin dance for “Fly Me To The Moon” as well as a sensuous “Blue Bossa.” Everything overflows with joy, reverie and class. Anyone got a time machine? If not, this disc is a close second.
George W. Harris (June 12, 2017)