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The History of Jazz, Volume 1 by Michael Moore and His Trio

There are some historical snapshots here and the players in this pianoless trio do know their jazz history. However this CD isn't about history: it's about synergy and intimacy. This is to be expected when veteran bassist Michael Moore is the leader. Playing with Gene Bertocini he has had years of experience in duo sessions where those qualities really matter.

Ken Peplowski, the hornman on this session, is a master on both clarinet and tenor. He plays tenor on "That Da Da Strain", "I'm Coming Virginia", Flip Phillip's uptempo "Hashimoto's Blues", "Pensativa", "Creole Love Call" and "Once In a While". Clarinet is his choice, perhaps a surprise in some cases, for Bill Evans' "Very Early", "Peacocks" by Jimmy Rowles (which always reminds me of Bix's piano pieces), Trane's melodic "Wise One" and the two boppers, "Donna Lee" and "Night in Tunisia", (Even bop has its traditions, such as the "Donna Lee" opening head in unison.)

Interplay between Moore and Peplowski is strong throughout and best illustrated by their eloquent "Body and Soul" clarinet/bass duet. Moore excels whether playing pizzicato or arco and their shifts back and forth from lead to improvised background are seamless. In "Monk's Dream", the bass/drums duo cut, Moore is Monk from the dissonant bowed intro to the lightly-swinging finale.

Drummer Tom Melito, who has worked with Peplowski in other settings, uses all the tools in his kit to give us a lesson in small group drumming. I can't overstate his contribution to the integrity of this trio.

The magic word for this CD is "ears". The three musicians have ears for the music and for each other. You should listen too!

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Michael Moore and His Trio
  • CD Title: The History of Jazz, Volume 1
  • Genre: Straight-Ahead / Classic
  • Year Released: 2000
  • Record Label: Arbors Records
  • Rating: Five Stars
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