The L.A. Sessions
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Accidental Tourists is a trio that includes pianist Markus Burger, bassist Bob Magnusson, and drummer Joe LaBarbera. Burger had been inactive in the studio for around a decade at the time of recording due to multiple factors, but he gelled immediately with his west coast rhythm section, as Magnusson and LaBarbera both have extensive résumés working for all-star leaders. The influence of pianist Bill Evans is apparent in several of the numbers, as Burger is a huge admirer. One of his most inspired choices is "In Love in Vain," an overlooked gem by Jerome Kern, in which the interaction of the three instrumentalists shows Burger's musical lineage to Evans. The Gershwins' touching "I Loves You, Porgy" was a favorite of Evans, and Burger conveys a similar mood, letting the lyricism of the song speak for itself. "Blue in Green," the modal masterpiece claimed by both Evans and Miles Davis, finds Burger giving it a Far Eastern touch in its introduction, then evolving it into an impressionist setting, giving the frequently recorded jazz standard his personal stamp. Seven of the songs are originals, with the first, "Grolnicks," being a tribute to the pianist Don Grolnick (who died in 1996 not long after releasing a trio of acclaimed post-bop CDs). This lyrical piece has a leisurely, mellow air with Magnusson's potent solo and strong rhythmic pulse, and LaBarbera's light touch fueling the leader's magical playing. "Black Sea Pearl" is a shimmering, breezy vehicle that invites comparisons to the work of Keith Jarrett and Evans. The infectious "Rodeo Drive Hustler" is a romping hard bop number that would have been at home in the '60s. "Morning Smile" is an elegant ballad that closes the album, leaving the listener wanting more.