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Boneyard by Jim McNeely Kelly Sill Joel Spencer

This is solid, straight ahead jazz by three masters of the craft. Covering a program of jazz standards, obscurities and originals, the principals never fail to impress. Opening with the Kurt Weill classic "Speak Low," pianist Jim McNeely, bassist Kelly Sill and drummer Joel Spencer each exhibit a mastery of their instrument throughout the nine selections. Dizzy Gillespie’s classic "Con Alma" is given a medium tempo reading, Dave Brubeck’s lovely "In Your Own Sweet Way" is a delight, Wayne Shorter’s "Fe Fi Fo Fum" is a bluesy swing piece, and the standard "In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning," a tune closely associated with Frank Sinatra, is given a gorgeous reading. It is the original material on which the players really shine. McNeely’s "For Manny" shimmers with tempo shifts and cascading piano work that points to his insightful and inventive compositional and performing skills. Sill’s solo here is mesmerizing and Spencer’s cymbal work offers appropriate shading. On "Ernie Banks," another McNeely original, paying homage to the baseball great, there is a sense of tension and release and a dazzling romp that reminds of Vince Guaraldi’s work at times. Bassist Sill, also the producer of the session, offers "A Sense of Fairness" and "Naomi." On the latter, McNeely reminds of Bill Evans and on the latter Sill takes an extended and moving bass solo that hypnotizes. Perhaps it is the Bill Evans Trio to whom this trio is most closely musically aligned, though this is no mere imitation. It is, rather, an impressive expression of the musical personalities of three wholly breathtakingly accomplished players.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Jim McNeely Kelly Sill Joel Spencer
  • CD Title: Boneyard
  • Genre: Straight-Ahead / Classic
  • Year Released: 2007
  • Record Label: Origin Records
  • Musicians: Jim McNeely (piano), Kelly Sill (bass, Joel Spencer (drums)
  • Rating: Four Stars
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