The Many Open Minds Of Roger Kellaway – IPO Recordings IPOC1026S 62:40****
( Roger Kellaway – piano; Bruce Forman – guitar; Dan Lutz – bass)
Roger Kellaway recently celebrated his eightieth birthday. To recognize this milestone he will be playing at the Birdland Theatre in NYC on November 15 &16. So drop on by to see this unique talent.
Roger Kellaway is a jazz pianist of formidable improvisational technique that is given full voice in his own trio. He has also played and recorded with other jazz notables such as Ben Webster, Zoot Sims, and Oliver Nelson. He wrote and played piano on the closing theme entitled “Remembering You” for one of TV’s iconic series All In The Family. Finally he was the music director for one of popular music’s brightest stars, Bobby Darrin.
This current release is called The Many Open Minds Of Roger Kellaway and it was originally recorded in August 2010 at The Jazz Bakery in Santa Monica California.The seven extended length tracks, all of which are well known jazz and popular music standards, are interpreted in a expressive and harmonically arranged manner reminiscent of the 1950s piano,/guitar,/bass trios of Oscar Peterson and Nat King Cole.
The opening track is the well known Thelonious Monk composition “52nd Street Theme” and it is taken at breakneck speed. Kellaway dances over the keys using his full menu of forcefully connected lines, and creative harmonic ideas. Guitarist Forman and bassist Lutz are in rhythmic lockstep with Kellaway’s pianistic attack.
The ever popular Richard Rodgers composition “Have You Met Miss Jones” is given an extended reading by the trio, lead by Kellaway’s solo piano introduction filled with colorful phrasing and flourishes leading into a mid-tempo swinger. Guitarist Forman has a long solo wherein he shows his expressive range. This is followed by bassist Lutz with his thick voicing. However the heart of the number is some stellar exchanges between Kellaway/Forman/Lutz that are marvellous in their versatility.
Compositions by Duke Ellington and or Billy Strayhorn are a staple of most jazz CD releases these days and this one is no exception. The two numbers are Strayhorn’s “Take The ‘A’ Train” and Ellington’s ( with Juan Tizol) “Caravan”. “‘A’Train” starts in a relaxed pensive groove followed by a long muscular solo from bassist Lutz. Kellaway picks up the theme in his usually coherent manner after which guitarist Forman shows his depth of feeling over the fretboard. The pace then picks up and starts to build with some bold block chords from Kellaway as the number runs out.
“Caravan” opens with a structural tone color and timbre along with robust physicality that perfectly fits the compositional theme. Forman is a deftly imaginative guitarist with a firecracker technique that integrates well with the trio framework. Kellaway is a protean originator who always swings regardless of the material.
This is a creative trio of commanding improvisers.
TrackList: 52nd Street Theme; Have You Met Miss Jones; Doxy; Take Five; Take The “A” Train; Night And Day; Caravan