Jazz Arts Trio – Swing of Many Colors (Reinterpretations of piano trio hits by Ahmad Jamal, Red Garland, Oscar Peterson, Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea & Marian McPartland) [TrackList follows] – JRI Recordings J131 *****:
(Frederick Moyer, piano/ Peter Tillotson, bass/ Peter Fraenkel, drums)
This one caught my eye due to it being bound like a small hard-cover book, as a number of recent classical and jazz albums have been. Also its unique approach to what might be termed “reperformance” of classic recorded jazz interpretations—although it is quite different from the Zenph Studios reperformance recordings which enhance digitally the original old piano recordings for perfected sonics. Pianist Frederick Moyer has written his own software for some of his performances, but not these.
Instead, the classical concert pianist—who has performed all over the world and recorded for the GM, Biddulph and JRI labels—here transcribed every note of the original recordings by Ahmad Jamal, Red Garland, etc., while his two cohorts also transcribed all of the bass and drum parts. The three of them had played as a trio thru most of their high school years, then went their own ways, with Moyer as a successful classical pianist and the other two continuing their jazz careers, but one of them also becoming a psychotherapist. Now they’re gotten back together for this unusual project—recreating the exact sound of these famous piano trios. Moyer reports that his biggest challenge was figuring out the sounds on the original recordings. He said it is difficult to differentiate between a played note, an imagined note, and a ringing created by the bass or cymbal.
This is their second album on the same idea; the first was Tribute. This one opens with the eight tracks of The Pershing Suite, from Ahmad Jamal’s album But Not for Me: Live at the Pershing. Jamal, like Basie, made every note count, and his style influences the next piano trio up, that of Red Garland. His long treatment of the folksong “Billy Boy” was on Miles Davis’ Milestones, and originally had great work by drummer Philly Joe Jones, here replicated by Peter Fraenkel. The only selection that wasn’t originally a piano trio is Marian McPartland’s “For All We Know” – originally her piano solo to which the trio added the drums and bass. The closer is the complex “Matrix,” which originally had masterpiece playing by Chick Corea, Miroslav Vitous and Roy Haynes. It was a real challenge to the Jazz Arts Trio, and although the original was in good enough sound, this new version is also a delight to hear. My only wish was that this album was available as a SACD or Blu-ray so the new versions could be on a higher sonic level, as were the early Zenph reperformances (the most recent is Oscar Peterson).
1-8. The Pershing Suite (Ahmad Jamal)
9. Billy Roy (Red Garland)
10. Night Train (Oscar Peterson)
11. Fly Me to the Moon (Oscar Peterson)
12. All the Things You Are (Keith Jarrett)
13. For All We Know (Marian McPartland)
14. Matrix (Chick Corea)
A bona fide jazz legend is celebrated with an all-star documentary soundtrack vinyl soundtrack.