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Sublime by Geoffrey Keezer

Geoffrey Keezer began playing and studying piano at the age of three. He quickly developed his talents and abilities. Keezer stayed a year at Boston’s Berklee School of Music before moving on to New York City. He received his first big break at the age of 18. Keezer cut his teeth with none other than Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers where he toured and helped to record two albums. Keezer would go on to play for other such big-timers like Benny Golson, Ray Brown and Art Farmer. He also played with many of his contemporaries such as Joshua Redman, Christian McBride, Roy Hargrove and Steve Turre, among many others.

Keezer has a love for the style of pianist, Hank Jones. The pianist writes that he was drawn by his "light touch and hip-hop harmonic language." It was the duo recordings of Jones and Tommy Flanagan that were the inspirations for this album. Keezer celebrates the prolific output of music by Jones and includes nine compositions. He employs the touch of four other highly celebrated pianists.

Sublime is an album of Jones’ originals save one by composer and arranger, Claus Ogerman. The tracks are duos, except two where Keezer is the sole pianist. Jones’ melodies are, by turns, serene and sanguine. Just listen to the tracks, "Angel Face" and "Things Are Pretty in the Spring." The songs are played delicately and simply. The players are able to interject their own personal styles but not without a nod to Jones. I particularly enjoy the playing of Benny Green who is able to unleash a funky groove in "Hank’s Blues" that would put a smile on Jones’ face. The modal piece "Favors" allows both Kenny Barron and Keezer the opportunity to stretch out. "Intimidation" is a selection chosen for Chick Corea. He uses it as a vehicle for improvisation and free-form. If anything, it shows Corea’s imagination, incredible technique and formidable chops.

Keezer is a wizard on the piano. His deft touch and tasteful use of the keyboard show that he, as do the others, captures the spirit of Jones. Each pianist treats each composition reverentially. Seasons was completed over two sessions in August of 2002. The sound recording is very good. It captures the natural sound and resonance of the piano. Overall, the album is as tasteful as it is intimate.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Geoffrey Keezer
  • CD Title: Sublime
  • Genre: Contemporary Jazz / Modern
  • Year Released: 2003
  • Record Label: Telarc
  • Rating: Three Stars
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