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Album Review

Adam Birnbaum is a talented post-bop jazz pianist and composer, with only one previous CD under his belt as a leader, though since it was for a Japanese label (Pony Canyon, American audiences may not be familiar with it. This one day session mixes trio tracks with bassist Joe Sanders and drummer Rodney Green, adding saxophonist Sharel Cassity on some numbers. Right off the bat, Birnbaum's compositions prove immediately infectious, each with a hook that draws the listener along for the ride. "Jackhammer" is the frenetic opener, darting in and out like someone weaving in traffic at high speed. The bossa nova "Kat's Dance" relieves the built-up tension a bit, then Birnbaum slides into his playful, dissonant "Three for One," which adds a sprinkling of Thelonious Monk and Bud Powell. It is also refreshing to hear a pianist explore the late Herbie Nichols' "House Party Starting," a gem of a piece that is rarely recorded. He is equally at home delving into music by classical composer Robert Schumann, interpreting the bittersweet waltz "Hor' Ich das Liedchen Klingen" in a moving trio arrangement. The sole standard is a lyrical treatment of "The Very Thought of You," dedicated by the leader to one of the best pianists, Hank Jones. Cassity joins the fun by playing soprano sax in the quirky "Camden," while she penned the lilting "Song of Those Who Seek," adding her soulful alto sax. This fine outing is more proof that great things come in Smalls' packages.

Travels, Adam Birnbaum
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  • 9,99 €
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: 10 October 2008

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