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I Wish I Knew

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Album Review

Yes, the Phil Collins who is listed as a special guest on Silvano Bazan's I Wish I Knew is that Phil Collins — the pop/rock superstar who was a member of Genesis and made solo hits like "Against All Odds," "In the Air Tonight," "Don't Lose My Number," and "Sussudio." The Phil Collins who joined forces with Earth, Wind & Fire's Philip Bailey on "Easy Lover" in 1984 is the same Phil Collins who is featured on this Swiss jazz release, and those who associate the singer with pop/rock will be surprised to hear him performing the standard "Teach Me Tonight" with European jazz musicians. While Collins' performance isn't mind-blowing, it's pleasant enough — and his die-hard fans may be disappointed to learn that he doesn't appear on any other tracks. Recorded in 2002, I Wish I Knew is, for the most part, an instrumental bop CD, and Bazan's acoustic pianism is the main attraction. Very much a straight-ahead artist, Bazan draws on influences like Oscar Peterson, Red Garland, Bud Powell, and Tommy Flanagan (among others). Few surprises occur, but the Swiss musician is a swinging yet lyrical improviser who is good at what he does. Although Bazan (who forms a trio with bassist Antoine Ogay and drummer Philippe Staehli) provides some original material, standards are a high priority, and unfortunately he usually picks the most overdone warhorses. It isn't that "What Is This Thing Called Love" and "Moonlight in Vermont" aren't great songs, but they've been beaten to death over the years. Instead of choosing so many warhorses, how about surprising jazz audiences with some gems that they haven't heard time and time again? Nonetheless, I Wish I Knew is a competent, if predictable outing for the Swiss pianist.

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