Bruce Williamson

Standard Transmission

origin 82567

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MUSIC REVIEW BY David Kane, Cadence Magazine

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Fortunately, I don't have to end this batch of reviews on a down note thanks to (13), a new CD from saxist Williamson. This is in part due to the presence of the chronically under-appreciated talents of pianist Art Lande. More than just a celebrity sideman (as with the previous CD), Art contributes several arrangements to the proceedings as well as his incisive pianism. The CD largely consists of standards but thankfully, this is no routine re-telling of these hoary chestnuts. Art's fiendishly twisted conflation of "How High the Moon" and Monk's "Misterioso" is but one example of the imagination expended on arranging these tunes. The leader contributes one bluesy original ("Barge") that is enjoyable enough but it is the standards that take centre stage here. I enjoyed every track on this CD but I particularly enjoyed Art's recasting of "All of Me" which re-imagines the breezy original in darker, phrygian hues.The leader's arrangements are also very good and the two arrangers seem quite compatible in concept and tools. Throughout, Williamson plays thoughtful lines with a good sound and improvisationally, he holds his own with Lande?no easy feat. The pianist, although prodigiously endowed with monster chops, characteristically eschews vacuous pyrotechnics for well chosen, creative lines that impress both with their free-wheeling invention and their striking economy. Barshay and Hall also bring a lot to the table and perform their dual roles as accompanists and soloists with aplomb. A very nice listen indeed?it's CDs like this that restore my faith in contemporary players' ability to continue to find something worthwhile to say through the standard repertoire. Recommended.






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