Play Zone, the concept, is that space where music is played, that frame of mind where music creates itself, the synergy of players and, literally,
where people come to listen.
Portland, Oregon pianist George Mitchell gathers together some of the
Northwest's finest and enters the Play Zone. Like his critically acclaimed first release, Play Zone emphasizes swing and group improvisation. This CD takes it up a notch with a variety of moods, more open sounds, personal interpretations of a few standards, strong melodies in the songs, and mixes music genres such as straight ahead jazz, blues, Brazilian and European jazz.
Included is the reworked "Body and Soul," which he titles "Thank You, New York;" and a lush treatment of Henry Mancini's, "Slow, Hot, Wind," beautifully filled out with tenor sax and Hammond organ. "All the Things You Are" has been reharmonized, with the middle section rephrased in æ time. They end the record with "Croatian Sensation," a swingin' organ blues quartet.
1. Inspiration 5:30
2. Time Will Tell 5:52
3. Let's Get With It 3:58
4. Uniforms 4:21
5. Ballad For Terri 4:40
6. Rise And Fall 4:24
7. Play Zone 4:35
8. Thank You, New York 5:27
9. Slow, Hot, Wind 5:27
10. All The Things You Are 5:29
11. Croatian Sensation 4:19
GEORGE MITCHELL - piano and B-3 organ
DAN BALMER - guitar
PATRICK LAMB - tenor saxophone
ROB DAVIS - tenor saxophone (on Uniforms)
SCOTT STEED - acoustic bass
CHRIS LEE - drums
Produced by Dick Titterington
Recorded at Falcon Studios, Portland, OR
Mastered at Nettleingham Audio, Vancouver, WA
Artist Photo by Ray Bidegain
Hyde Park photo by Terri Gautier Svetich
Piano photo by John Bishop
Layout & design by John Bishop / OriginArts
Oregonian (Lynn Darroch)
George Mitchell's versatility shows on CD 'Play Zone' "That's the kind of musician I aspire to be," says George Mitchell. "Somebody who does a variety of things." So there is a lot of variety on Mitchell's new CD, "Play Zone." A Portland native, the keyboard player and composer has toured with pop diva Diana Ross for 20 years. But when he's ...
Jazz Review (Donald James)
Named after a Portland jazz haunt, George Mitchell's Play Zone is nothing if not good straight-ahead swinging post-bop jazz. There's nothing terribly fascinating or unusual about this album. Each player is incredibly competent, a term meant in only the most complementary fashion. Mitchell handles the duties on piano and Hammond B-3, while Dan B ...
The Skanner (Dick Bogle)
This is an extraordinarily fine recording by keyboardist George Mitchell's band. I only wish the group was working regularly so folks could enjoy it at will. Aside from the obvious talent of its leader, Mitchell, the rhythm section of bassist Scott Steed and drummer Chris Leee is so together, always there with the right touches. Seriously, the w ...
All Music Guide (Adam Greenburg)
Play Zone is the sophomore effort from George Mitchell, 20-year veteran of Diana Ross' band. Here, he's more at home, playing more straightforward jazz piano (with some exceptions) and making use of a fine ensemble of Portland jazzmen. The basis of the album is jazz piano, but, that said, the group wanders often into territory of the blues and moti ...