Peter Bernstein with the Tilden Webb Trio – Cellar Live CL042613, 70:01 ****:
(Peter Bernstein – guitar; Tilden Webb – piano; Jodi Proznick – acoustic bass; Jesse Cahill – drums)
Peter Bernstein is a smart guitarist with a cool disposition and strong technique in the Jim Hall tradition. In this live recording from Cory Weeds’ Jazz Cellar Club in Vancouver, British Columbia he is paired with a Vancouver-based trio led by pianist Tilden Webb for a thoughtful and animated session.
“Bones,” which is a Peter Bernstein original composition, starts off the session in promising fashion with the guitarist demonstrating his solid and organized style. The supporting trio proves early on that they are self-assured, with Webb validating that he is a polished pianist. “Darn That Dream” opens with an extended solo from Bernstein framing the melody, then the band picks up the theme with a ballad rendition of the composition that is both fastidious and polished. In 1964 John Coltrane and his quartet went into the Impulse studios to record Crescent in which “Wise One” was one of his compositions recorded. Bernstein’s homage to Coltrane remains faithful to this earlier recorded version in its structure and intent, including the Latin-influenced section mid-way through the composition.
John Lewis of the MJQ wrote “Django” as a tribute to the late great gypsy-jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt and thus it seems fitting that Bernstein devotes the longest track of the session to this composition. Although not done with an acoustic guitar, Bernstein nevertheless captures the essence of the composition in a knowing and sure-footed fashion. Throughout the piece the trio shows it understands the underlying harmonic structure of the tune with pianist Webb taking up the challenge to deliver a thoughtful interlude, and bassist Jodi Proznick wading in to demonstrate her command of the bass with a perceptive solo. Winding up the session is the Cole Porter standard “What Is This Thing Called Love”. Taken at an up-tempo pace, it showcases Bernstein’s deftness and speed over the fret-board. Pianist Webb jumps in and covers all the keyboard with a bristling solo and before the tune closes out, drummer Jesse Cahill brings energy to using all his drum kit.
Peter Bernstein is a straight-ahead guitarist with solid credentials who knows how to take advantage of a sympathetic rhythm section to deliver the goods.
TrackList: Bones; Darn That Dream; Love For Sale; Wise One; Come Rain Or Come Shine; Django; Yesterdays; What Is This Thing Called Love