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The 3 Bs by Ted Rosenthal

The liner notes Bill Evans wrote for his 1963 recording Conversations With Myself, perhaps imply that a solo piano effort can be a very private musical communication with a listener. This is very true with the newest CD released by Ted Rosenthal entitled The 3 B’s. Rosenthal demonstrates his abilities to be more than capably conversant in the jazz dialect and specifically in the language of Bill Evans, Beethoven, and Bud Powell. While listening to this CD, one has the impression that Rosenthal is "talking" directly to the listener about the music he is performing and something about his impressions of Beethoven, Bill, and Bud.

Rosenthal includes jazz standards such as Bill Evans’ famous "Waltz for Debby," and "Tempus Fugit" composed by Bud Powell. Additionally included are pieces such as Gershwin’s "I Loves You Porgy" and "Tea For Two" by Caesar and Youmans, each associated with inspired performances by Evans and Powell. Beethoven’s "Pathetique" Sonata and "Sonata op. 109" also serve as vehicles for Rosenthal’s pianistic and improvisatory artistry. Rosenthal’s personal style owes a debt to the influence of Powell and Evans, and he also demonstrates a complete understanding of the music of Beethoven that he performs. His improvisations on Beethoven’s pieces seem to be a natural extension of the master’s work.

The combination of these "3 B’s" is not merely happenstance. The recording is well balanced with Rosenthal’s interpretations of the music of "Romantic" Bill Evans off set by the wellspring of Bud Powell’s emotionally charged tunes, all complimented by the Romanticism of Beethoven. Rosenthal’s level of technique and musicianship is top notch and brings new and refreshing interpretations of jazz standards. Perhaps the most thought provoking part of The 3 B’s however, is Rosenthal bringing to light speculation of what Beethoven might have sounded like had jazz existed in 18th/19th century Europe. Perhaps more likely and realistically, Rosenthal is merely demonstrating that Beethoven’s music is truly timeless and "travels well" wherever and whenever it goes.

The recording quality The Three B’s is excellent with clarity and crisp, clean sound. This is a recording of very high merit and is a highly recommended addition to any jazz CD collection.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Ted Rosenthal
  • CD Title: The 3 Bs
  • Genre: Straight-Ahead / Classic
  • Year Released: 2002
  • Record Label: Playscape Recordings
  • Rating: Five Stars
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