Mainstream pianist Benny Green,a protege of Oscar Peterson, doesn't try to overwhelm you with pyrotechnics,at least on this CD. However, he does have the chops (or hands!) and he puts them to good use. Those big block chords and his mastery of stride and swing spice up his solo cuts which include "Learning the Blues,"Duke's "Love You Madly"and Wayne Shorter's poignant tribute to Prez,"Lester Left Town."
In putting together a trio,Green hit the jackpot. On guitar, it's Russell Malone who was an integral part of the King Cole Trio sound on Diana Krall's "All for You"CD.The bassist is the much sought-after Christian Mc Bride, still under thirty! Both provide creative solos and solid rhythmic support. (At times Malone reminds us of Freddie Green with that oh-so-steady four/four.) The threesome swings their way through Carl Perkins' familiar"Grooveyard"and five of Green's charts including the title cut. Green salutes McBride "Captain Hook," Malone "Russelin',"Horace Parlan,"Beg Your Parlan"and his influences,"Pittsburgh Brethren." The "brethren"are Ray Brown, Art Blakey and Green's father.
I have a thing about originals.Even great players don't always make good writers. There aren't that many like Monk, Mingus or Wayne Shorter. A jazz solo often is just for the moment; a song must be a melody that lingers on. Benny Green knows how to compose accessable and melodic tunes and for that I am grateful.
I think Oscar will like this album.