If, like me, you lean in the direction of bright, joyous, boppy piano trios, you need to check out Jeb Patton. This is the first effort for the excellent Cellar Live label, and it has a lot to be admired. Joined by David Wong, bass, and Rodney Green, drums, Patton opens this live performance with a bop-drenched, Bud Powell-like Thad Jones burner called "Zec". Two Patton originals follow. The first of them, entitled "Tenth" is yet another rapid flight, and the next one, "Third Movement", is a medium tempo groove with an attractive melody line. From here, Patton and pals begin a succession of standards starting with a swinging "This Can't Be Love". The next three choices are from that miracle known as the Ellington-Strayhorn organization. In order, a Duke rarity called "Reflections in D"---I haven't heard it played since Bill Evans gave it life, and Patton does equal honor to its serenity and beauty; an Ellington staple, "Sophisticated Lady", comes next in all its splendor; finally, there's "Johnny Come Lately", a classic "smile inducer" from Duke's second in command, the brilliant Billy Strayhorn. "I'll Never Stop Loving You" is an overlooked ballad beautifully interpreted by the trio, and a medley of "Royal Garden Blues" and Wynton Kelly's "Kelly Blue" finds Patton at his Tatum-esque best. The album's closer, "Overtime" is an inspired, full-of-fun romp. Patton is the complete trio pianist: true to the tradition, but still looking forward. Jeb Patton is a joy to hear.
Cellar Live; 2018; appx. 58 min.
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