Bruce Williamson

Standard Transmission

origin 82567

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MUSIC REVIEW BY George Fendel, Jazz Society of Oregon

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Deep in the shed, New York alto ace Williamson teams up with the admired veteran pianist Art Lande in a quartet setting mainly devoted to favorite melodies of long standing. Hence, the clever album title. The quartet is completed by Peter Barshay, bass, and Alan Hall, drums. Among many high moments here, try "Just You, Just Me." A guy named Monk turned it into "Evidence" quite some years ago, and Williamson, Lande and company bring out that spirit. Williamson turns to soprano on "All of Me," and Lande contributes some new harmonies. "Steps to A Dream" is actually a medley of two tunes, unrelated to one another except in their titles: "You Stepped Out of a Dream" and "Weaver of Dreams." Lande has never feared stepping out a bit, and he does so on "Don't Blame Me" by choosing the melodica over piano. It results in an almost ethereal version of the old chestnut. "Sweet and Lovely" is a straightahead swinger, and "Nature Boy" brings on a return to the soprano and features Lande in an appropriately Eastern calm. Williamson's versatility continues as he plays flute on "The Touch of Your Lips," and the album ends with a head scratching medley. Can you imagine Monk's "Misterioso" and "How High the Moon" played simultaneously? A fascinating 1:06 which leaves you wondering how they may have further improvised on the two tunes. All told, this is a CD of thoughtful creativity, often fascinating harmonically. These musicians take standards in hand, giving them new attire in many ways, but are careful not to assault melodies that are a revered part of Songbook America. Quite refreshing, one might say!






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