Ted Rosenthal Trio – Out Of This World – Playscape Recordings 031010 64:14 ****:
(Ted Rosenthal – Piano; Noriko Ueda – Bass; Quincy Davis – Drums)
Over the past several decades The Great American Songbook has been the lodestone for musicians of all stripes and genres as it provided material that could be mined with inventiveness and imagination. With this latest release, The Ted Rosenthal Trio has embarked on another look at these tunes, and come away with an album full of reverence and passion for each composer’s pertinent ideas.
Ably supported by Noriko Ueda on bass and Quincy Davis on drums, Rosenthal’s deft touch and single –note lines seem particularly suited for the ten compositions that have been chosen for this set. Starting off with “Out Of This World” the group captures the listeners’ attention with a unique time signature (9/8) rendition of this Harold Arlen/Johnny Mercer tune. George Gershwin seems to be a particular favourite of Rosenthal’s as he features two classics “Embraceable You”, “ How Long Has This Been Going On” and the little heard “ Prelude No. 2”. According to Rosenthal the latter is based on the blues and it is done in that vein here. The other Gershwin compositions are completed with flair, interesting tempi, and harmonious musical themes.
Ted Rosenthal is a performer with wide-reaching musical tastes and capabilities that allow him to move freely in both jazz and non jazz spheres. So when he does venture out in this trio format he looks to broaden his horizons and test his mettle of his capabilities. For example using the Billy Strayhorn composition “Lotus Blossom”, Rosenthal finds the essence of the piece which provides the focus for his creativeness. The Arthur Hamilton redolent “Cry Me A River” has generally been taken at a languid pace remembering the original Julie London version, and more recently the offering by Diana Krall. Rosenthal tosses all that aside for an up tempo burner, that also gives his rhythm section a chance to be more than timekeepers.
There is much to admire in Rosenthal’s playing with his warm feel and incisive timing, and he thereby lifts the album into a headier category.
TrackList: Out Of This World; So In Love; Have You Met Miss Jones; Prelude #2; Embraceable You; People Will Say We’re In Love; Lotus Blossom; How Long Has This Been Going On; Cry Me A River; In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning.
A bona fide jazz legend is celebrated with an all-star documentary soundtrack vinyl soundtrack.