The list of credits of these three fantastic musicians is as long as it is amazing. To name just a few: Hank has played with Coleman Hawkins, Ella Fitzgerald, Charlie Parker and Lester Young. Davis (an accomplished classical as well as jazz bassist) has played with Ahmad Jamal, Sarah Vaughan, Ben Webster and Eric Dolphy. Elvin has played with Bud Powell, Miles Davis and Sonny Rollins, though he’ll always be best known for his long and fruitful association with John Coltrane (1960-1965).
One of the problems often associated with such ‘superstar’ recordings as this is that the egos of the players can sometimes overshadow all other aspects of the session - their desire to showcase the flashiest facets of their technique can at times get in the way of the music itself. I’m very happy to say that is not at all the case with this group. On each and every track they play with immense passion and sensitivity, but always serving the song rather than the individuals.
This album is a collection of jazz standards, including one ("A Child Is Born") that was written by the other musical genius of the Jones family, their late brother Thad. I’ve always believed that one of the true measures of greatness for a jazz artist is how capable they are of bringing something new to songs that have been played and recorded literally thousands of times. Here, the Great Jazz Trio demonstrate their artistic mastery by making each one of these songs sound fresh and exciting, whether it be a ballad, such at "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" or a bebop tune like Parker’s "Moose The Mooche".
Many will probably compare this group to other celebrated trios such as those of Bill Evans or Keith Jarrett, but each of these groups is unique and have their own particular approach to this music. But if enjoy classic, straight-ahead, piano-trio jazz, you’ll absolutely love this recording, because while there are many similar groups, no one is doing is better than The Great Jazz Trio. Adding special historical significance to this recording is that it was the last for Elvin, who passed away almost exactly one year later on May 18, 2004 from heart failure. He will be deeply missed by jazz fans the world over, but it’s nice to know that there are great recordings like this one available to remember him by.