Pianist Tim Lyddon is a major voice on jazz piano and I've Traveled So Far
is simply one of the most delightful piano trio sets of the past few years. The New York-based pianist counts Art Tatum, Oscar Peterson and Bud Powell as early influences; as a young man he added Tommy Flanagan, Hank Jones, Keith Jarrett and Bill Evans to the inspirational potpourri. He took lessons from Jaki Byard as well as instruction in composition and arranging from Spud Murphy, who taught Oscar Peterson, Gerald Wiggins and Bennie Maupin. All of that said, Mr. Lyddon is in unquestionably his own man.
The opening title piece sets the tone for this introspective 10-song gem. His touch is gentle and thoughtful, building ever so lightly on a theme. With deft accompaniment from bassist Tom Hubbard and drummer Scott Latzky, Lyddon assays notes that at once cascade and drip thoughtfully. It is a technique that suits him well throughout the collection.
The subtle swing of "Angela," offers one of the most elegant pieces of the set, while "Theme For A Lost Real" is one of the most straight-ahead numbers. There are two classics in the set list ("I Thought About You" and "I Should Care"), though the eight originals have just as much of a classic quality. "Dreamland," showing off the Flanagan inspired chops, and the exquisite Evans-inspired "Beautiful Feeling" are texturally dense and moody numbers, contributing to the sort of rainy-day pensiveness that pervades the disc.
The sprite runs of "What Time Is It" offer a break from the mellowness. This one breaks out in a gallop, with the rhythm team comping solidly behind. Lyddon is quick-thinking and imaginative throughout. Glimpses of the Oscar Peterson influence are apparent, even in the solo breaks from Hubbard (especially) and Latzky. The closing "I Thought Abut You" is nearly its equal in pace and offers some of the shining moments of the collection for Lyddon's dazzling pianists.