Monday, April 23, 2018

Roger Kellaway New Jazz Standards Vol. 3;

New Jazz Standards, Vol. 3; Roger Kellaway, piano
Could it possible be that you don't know the name Roger Kellaway? The only explanation might be that he has quietly worked for more than fifty years with names like Burrell, Rollins, Sims, Webster, McRae, Murphy, Darin, Montgomery, Brookmeyer, Witherspoon and dozens more! He also wrote the "out" theme for All In The Family and well, he can do anything from stride to blistering bebop. I have witnessed him going for a percussive "shocker" by playing whatever notes possible with his entire forearm---elbow to wrist! Kellaway is a virtuoso who can play cascades of notes like a gigantic summer rain and then catch you off guard with a body-slam blues that can simply amaze. On this session Kellaway is joined by esteemed veterans Jay Leonhart on bass and Peter Erskine on drums. The trio takes on fifteen works by another brilliant player you need to know about, trumpet ace Carl Saunders. A major presence on the L.A. jazz map for years, Saunders is a scary presence on trumpet and flugelhorn. He can dazzle on ripping, fast passages and he can also handle dreamy, reflective things like few others. He's worked in nearly every musical context, from leading his own big band to small groups to studio work. He deserves superstar fame as a player, but now shows another side as a composer. It may be old school thinking, but Saunders writes a real melody line combined with a bridge and a return to the melody. I for one am all for that. Many of these songs are simply waiting for a lyric. In fact, one of them, "Is That Asking Too Much", contains a brief lyric which may call Mose Allison to mind. The songs vary in tempos and mood, but Kellaway, Leonhart and Erskine are equal to the task throughout. You may have noticed that this is volume three. Well, judging form this album, I'd love to get my hands on volumes one and two!
Summit; 2018; appx. 72 min.

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