This tasty trio is another part of the impressive jazz scene that has developed in the Pacific Northwest during the past several years.
Marc Seales is the pianist, Jeff Johnson plays bass and Tad Britton - identified as the leader - handles the drums. Seales and Johnson have been key artists on dozens of albums that have been released from this region during the past few years, and Britton is a perfect drummer for this kind of group.
Seales, now a professor at the University of Washington, plays lovely, lyrical piano; if you're a Bill Evans fan, you'll love him. Johnson has been Seales' longtime rhythm mate, and the two think as one. Britton's drums provide a quiet, yet moving background.
All the tracks are excellent, but the covers or Evans' "Time Remembered" and Legrande/Bergmans' "Windmills of Your Mind" are just gorgeous.
This is one of the most peaceful and soothing releases I've heard in years. It isn't for dancing, and it isn't an up-tempo swinger, but "Black Hills" provides some of the best "thinking jazz" ever recorded. It could be played in a library without being intrusive, but you'd be hard pressed to keep your mind on what you were reading.
It's that beautiful.