Greg Reitan – West 60th – Sunnyside Records SSC 15452 45:22 ****
( Greg Reitan – piano; Jack Darko – bass; Dean Kota – drums)
Greg Reitan is a pianist of uncommon talent, with a rich tone and an inclination for finely distinguished playing. In his latest release on Sunnyside Records entitled West 60 th, he establishes a firm command of the material which is both intricate and challenging.
Working with his colleagues of long standing, bassist Jack Daro and drummer Dean Koba, Reitan not only stretches his compositional talent but at the same time, reinterprets several compositions from both well known jazz and classical composers. The classical derived pieces are Reitan’s own composition “Hindemith” and the Aaron Copeland work “Four Piano Blues, Movement No.3”.
In the case of “Hindemith” this number was influenced by the German composer Paul Hindemith. This is an energetic creation filled with percussive single note playing accompanied by blustery rhythmic support. Aaron Copeland was an American composer whose open changing harmonies were meant to be reflective of the American landscape and pioneer spirit. His composition is a brief track, but Reitan’s solo piano captures the composer’s intent with his delicate touch and structured playing.
There are two numbers, both ballads, in this recital that were composed by jazz luminaries , namely Bobby Hutcherson’s “When You Are Near” and a minor effort from Herbie Hancock called “Little One”. On the former Reitan has a lovely and poetic approach on this penetrating melody that leads into a thoughtful bass solo from Jack Darko. On the latter, drummer Kota uses his mallets on the cymbals to create sizzling effect, upon which Reitan moves the number from a ballad to a mid tempo offering filled with a lyrical suppleness as he runs over the keys.
The balance of the session features compositions from Reitan that run the gamut of styles and tempos each of which offer the pianist an opportunity to develop a sound milieu filled with harmonic substance. Whether it is the title track “West 60th” which swings along in a delightful waltz, or the up tempo “Lines” which features a counterpoint between bass and piano, or “Luminosity” a ballad which is replete with stylishly configured playing.
Greg Reitan and his trio continue to dazzle taking their artistry from a variety of eclectic sources.
When You Are Near
Four Piano Blues, Movement No. 3