Eliot Zigmund Trio EZ – Standard Fare – Steeplechase SCCD 33104, 60:54 ***:
(Eliot Zigmund, drums; Rick Savage, trumpet and flugelhorn; Mark Minchello, Hammond B-3 organ)
Hammond B-3 organ releases seem to fall into a certain pattern. Most of them are organ, guitar, and drums, or organ, sax, and drums. Occasionally you will find a Hammond filling out a bigger band in a supporting fashion. The Eliot Zigmund Trio EZ goes off in a new and welcome direction. That is featuring a trumpeter instead of a saxist or guitarist to play off the vibe that the Hammond provides. Previously, perhaps, it was thought that a brass instrument might overwhelm or either be taken over by the mighty Hammond. However, under the leadership of long time consummate drummer, Eliot Zigmund, this proposition of bringing a solo trumpeter into the mix pays off.
Zigmund has been on the scene for many decades. Most noted as being the drummer for Bill Evans in the 1970s, and later with Michel Petrucciani, Zigmund has always been noted for sympathetic backing and prowess with the brushes. The EZ trio is in good hands with him at the helm.
Recorded in 2011 by Steeplechase with veteran producer, Nils Winther, in charge, Standard Fare is a very pleasant soulful listening experience. Trumpeter Savage does not dominate his mates and the mix is just right to hear Rick play off the Hammond B-3 lines. For song selection there is a mix of the familiar (Brubeck’s “In Your Own Sweet Way,” “Monk’s Dream,” Coltrane’s “Lazy Bird,” Johnny Mercer’s “Tangerine,” and Bird’s “Yardbird Suite”) along with an original composition by organist, Minchello, “Lullaby Line.”
Minchello’s tune kicks off Standard Fare with a classic Hammond vibe and Savage proves he is up to task on trumpet with a warm solo. Brubeck’s classic tune benefits from Savage’s trumpet mute keeping this tune in mainstream territory of Brubeck, rather than a funk project.
“Tenderly” is laid back with Minchello keeping this chestnut in a slow dance mood. Hank Mobley’s “This I Dig of You” is a feature for Rick Savage’s mid-range trumpet talent and he takes Mobley’s place in setting a soft hard bop motif. “You Don’t Know What Love Is” is taken at a stroll with a moody Savage solo and a languorous cinema verite theme that would do well in a movie potboiler.
“Monk’s Dream” is taken in a mainstream direction with no edges peaking through. “Lazy Bird” could use a little energy infusion, but goes down easily. The CD closes with Bird’s “Yardbird Suite” It has enough swing to awaken the senses, Zigmund’s brushes are polished, and Savage adds some lyrical sparkles.
Zigmund’s Trio EZ trio’s moniker is apt. Nothing that will catch you off guard but it is still a pleasant listen for fans of easygoing Hammond with a trumpet to provide a new foil for the B-3 lover.
TrackList: Lullaby Line, In Your Own Sweet Way, Tenderly, Luisa, This I Dig of You, You Don’t Know What Love Is, Monk’s Dreams, Lazy Bird, Tangerine, Yardbird Suite
Rob Silverman: Drumology Vol 2; Pat Petrillo Big Rhythm Band: The Power Station Sessions – Autumn Hill Records
Two excellent percussion-inspired releases from an emerging jazz label.