Thursday, December 12, 2013

No Small(s) Thing

More new CDs from Smalls Live. Two that I am enjoying today.

Product DetailsRodney Green Quartet, "Live at Smalls" (Smalls Live 2013), with Green on drums, Seamus Blake on tenor sax, Luis Perdomo on piano, and Joe Sanders on bass. Four leaders, four masters working as a team. Perdomo is one of my favorites and his play is infectious and driven, but in fact the real driving is done by Green on the drum set and Sanders full throats bass. Seven extended tracks allow everyone their time in the limelight without excessive noodling. Great.

Product DetailsDavid Berkman, "Live at Smalls" (Smalls Live 2013) fettering Tom Harrell on trumpet, Ed Howard on bass, and Johnathan Blake on drums. Berkman is one of those pianists that should have a higher profile, off of CDs like "Live at Smoke" (Challenge 2009), "Leaving Home" (Palmetto 2002) and most recently a solo CD "Self Portrait" (Red Piano Records 2012). Here he teams with the inestimable Tom Harrell on the frontline on six pieces including a special "Body and Soul" and "Sweet and Lovely." Harrell modulates his sound beautifully and never overwhelms the rest of the contributions of the team, and Berkman comfortably takes his place as both leader and when comping. Another hit for Berkman and for Smalls.
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Two others also were just released, one a solo outing by guitarist Peter Bernstein, the other a sextet led by trombonist Frank Lacy.

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