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Live At the Village Vanguard

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Album Review

Pianist, composer, and bandleader Uri Caine takes time out from his myriad projects to record a straight jazz trio date at the illustrious Village Vanguard. For all of his wonderful quirks and musical personalities, Caine is foremost a fine jazz pianist and stylist. Along with bassist Drew Gress and drummer Ben Perowsky, that persona is on display here and it shines in a program of originals, a jazz classic, and standards. Caine's reading of Wayne Shorter's now canonical "Nefertiti" is elegant and stylish; it's full of twists and turns from the modal base and snakes its way through jazz and popular music history in the solo. The ensemble interplay here is almost symbiotic; each chromatic shift is anticipated by the rhythm section and glides into place. On Caine's "Most Wanted," the piece begins with a bluesy Ramsey Lewis Trio groove shimmer before elliptically mutating into a Bill Evans-styled harmonic exploration of the changes and modulations in the tune's melodic intervals — complete with Latin-tinged rhythmic invention by Perowsky. The bopped-out, exceptionally long read of Irving Berlin's "Cheek to Cheek" amounts to a strident blowing session with Caine offering double-handed counterpoint at sometimes dizzying speeds. In all, this is a very satisfying date, offering a complex and erudite portrait of the pianist as a monster improviser and an exceptionally sophisticated arranger.


Born: 08 June 1956 in Philadelphia, PA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Jazz pianist/composer Uri Caine brings an eclectic array of disciplines and influences to his music. His own Jewish heritage, his classical and jazz training, and his interest in electronics combine in ambitious hybrids that are often challenging but always inventive. Caine grew up in an intellectual, open-minded family in Philadelphia. His father, a law professor at Temple University, and his mother, a poet and professor at Drexel, ensured the best musical education possible for their son, having...
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Live At the Village Vanguard, Uri Caine
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