Rick Germanson – Off The Cuff – Owl Studios

by | Jul 31, 2009 | Jazz CD Reviews | 0 comments

Rick Germanson – Off The Cuff – Owl Studios 00127, 53:17 ***:

(Rick Germanson, piano; Gerald Cannon, bass; Louis Hayes drums)

Having played with the Cannonball Legacy Band and Pat Martino, Rick Germanson has now released his third CD as a band leader, Off The Cuff. With the help of bassist Gerald Cannon and drummer Louis Hayes (who played with the original Cannonball Adderley quintet and led the Cannonball Legacy Band), Germanson has crafted a wonderful album that highlights his considerable skills as a pianist and bandleader.

The highlights of the album include a heartbreaking rendition of Freddie Hubbard’s Up Jumped Spring, which the trio plays as a ballad in honor of Hubbard’s passing (Hayes, having played with Hubbard, gave his blessing to Germanson’s interpretation), a reflective version of Vernon Duke’s Autumn in New York, and Germanson’s own solo piano track, The Way of Water.

If there is one slight reservation I have about Off the Cuff, it’s that, with the exception of The Way of Water, the covers on the album overshadow the originals. While Germanson is undeniably a talented pianist, his songwriting could be sharper. However, putting your original composition next to a song like Up Jumped Spring or Autumn in New York is always going to be a risky move, and I give Germanson credit for taking that risk.

Quagmire, Jill’s Song, Daytona, Up Jumped Spring, This Time the Dream’s On Me, Wives and Lovers, The Way of Water, Autumn in New York, Brick, Any Thoughts?

– Daniel Krow

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