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Album Review

Greg Reitan has continued to grow as a pianist with each successive CD for Sunnyside. His third release for the label is once again a trio date with bassist Jack Daro and drummer Dean Koba. The obvious benefit of using a working group is that it is inevitably better prepared when entering the recording studio. One can hear numerous influences in the pianist's playing, but he isn't a clone of any of them, finding his own voice whether playing a timeless ballad or a breezy original. Reitan shows a surprising maturity for an artist still in his thirties, finding new ways to voice familiar songs. His rendition of Michel Legrand's "Once Upon a Summertime" is a masterful, restrained performance of under three minutes. His interpretation of Thelonious Monk's "Monk's Mood" brings out its often neglected lyricism, with his trio pretty much staying in the background. Reitan is able to give even an oft-recorded gem like Billy Strayhorn's "Chelsea Bridge" a fresh setting that avoids the typical approaches. The pianist's beautifully improvised introduction to "Blue in Green" is impressionistic without tipping its hand immediately as to its final destination; once Reitan reveals the modal masterpiece's theme, he takes it from a ballad setting into breezy bop. Reitan's originals are just as impressive. His inventive, twisting "Five Four" has the energy of Denny Zeitlin's work, a intriguing, shape-shifting performance with Daro and Koba providing the fuel for his flight. His infectious jig-like "Iridescence" is a rapid-fire bop vehicle showcasing Koba's excellent brushwork. Greg Reitan is ample proof that there are still plenty of possibilities playing with a jazz piano trio.

Daybreak, Greg Reitan
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: Sep 13, 2011

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