Hey, if you want to talk about Seattle's three or four best piano practitioners, you'd better put Randy Halberstadt on the list. Right around the top. I heard him a few years back here in PDX accompanying singer Meredith d'Ambrosio, and remember being duly impressed. Well, here's Randy with a couple more giants, Jeff Johnson, bass and Gary Hobbs, drums. This exciting trio works seamlessly together on standards like Moonray, In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning, Invitation, The Touch Of Your Lips and Everything I Love. A few particularly interesting choices round out a stunning debut (to the best of my knowledge) album. First of all, there's a version of Monk's Well You Needn't which catches the listener's attention with its briskly alternating tempo. Then there's Bill Evans' B Minor Waltz, a gentle, lilting thing typical of its composer. Halberstadt meets Fredric Chopin on Nocturne In C# Minor and I'm sure Fred would have approved of this stunning solo performance. Finally there's a piece entitled Don't Forget The Poet, an expressive piece of music by Italian jazz pianist Enrico Pieranunzi. It suggests that Halberstadt is not only a premier player but an astute listener to other pianists of note. This will surely rank among my favorite piano trio albums of 2004.