Toby Koenigsberg

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MUSIC REVIEW BY Ken Dryden, All Music Guide

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Pianist Toby Koenigsberg's second CD as a leader is a mind-stretching trio affair featuring bassist Tyler Abbott and drummer Jason Palmer, delving into famous and lesser known jazz compositions, standards and originals. While most pianists tackle Bud Powell's works in a fairly straight-forward manner, Koenigsberg and his musicians reshape "Oblivion" with a steady, pulsing Latin rhythm behind the pianist which seems out of kilter but fits beautifully. Powell's humorous Asian-flavored "So Sorry Please" is approached in a disjointed fashion where the drums and bass frequently seem independent of the piano, though Koenigsberg retains Powell's wit. The late Bill Evans' "Show- Type Tune" is one of his less frequently performed pieces; the trio's interpretation kicks off with Palmer starting on brushes and switching later to sticks; while Koenigsberg's approach to it is choppier than Evans' recording, it is no less valid. The one standard is a lush, almost hushed arrangement of "My Foolish Heart" that deserves to be savored. The leader's "Variant Strain" is a constantly shifting work that evolves subtly from its initial waltz setting, with the pianist sitting out as Abbott and Palmer build it to a stirring climax. The CD is bracketed by a pair of intriguing works written by trumpeter AndrČ Canniere, both of which ignite the trio's imagination. Ideally, this highly recommended CD by the Toby Koenigsberg Trio is best enjoyed in a quiet room devoid of distractions, with low lighting and a glass of a favorite vintage wine.








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