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A Special Alliance by John Bunch

What stands out most clearly when listening to John Bunch’s CD A Special Alliance is the incredible clarity and deftness in his playing. Bunch is undoubtedly an artist fully in command of his instrument, and the delicate, swinging, light approach found on this CD is a truly refreshing alternative to harder driving music. This is not to say that Bunch and his trio are playing frilly inconsequential fluffy music or in an overly lighthearted manner. The music on the recording is much to the contrary.

Bunch pays tribute to a number of great jazz pianists with the inclusion of tunes by Bud Powell, Tommy Flanagan, Thelonious Monk, and Duke Ellington. Bunch and his trio also include their interpretations of George Gershwin’s beautiful ballad "My Ship" and the haunting Billy Strayhorn standard "Lush Life." Bunch also applies his fleet of foot approach to the music of John Coltrane and Hank Mobley on their tunes "Moments Notice" and "Funk in a Deep Freeze." Not to be outdone in the composition department the CD also includes two originals, "Certain People," and "Don’t Remind Me" by Bunch, while drummer Dave Green gets his kicks with his composition "Licks."

In addition to the light as a feather approach John Bunch favors in his piano playing, the bass of Steve Brown and drums of Dave Green likewise provide a gossamer almost transparent accompaniment that, for the great groove they provide, almost sound as though they aren’t even present. The occasional soloing space given Green and Brown likewise maintains a tasteful and understated approach and certainly compliments the work of the total ensemble. Although the entire CD is very even in terms of musicianship, balance and pacing of tunes, a standout to this listener was the pairing of Duke Ellington’s "Prelude to a Kiss" and "Sophisticated Lady" dovetailed together into one very satisfying combination.

A Special Alliance by John Bunch is a recording that certainly reflects the work of consummate professionals making really great swinging music. For lovers of great jazz piano trios, this CD is a must have. For jazz fans in general, A Special Alliance likewise will make a nice addition to anyone’s jazz CD collection.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: John Bunch
  • CD Title: A Special Alliance
  • Genre: Straight-Ahead / Classic
  • Year Released: 2002
  • Record Label: Arbors Records
  • Rating: Four Stars
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