Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Instrumental CD of the Month - "Bill Carrothers: Joy Spring"

Instrumental CD of the Month
Bill Carrothers: "Joy Spring" (Pirouet)

Rating: ***** (musical content & sonic quality)
Produced & engineered by Jason Seizer at Pirouet Studios in Munich, it's the best album ever recorded by Bill Carrothers as a leader, as well as one of the best piano jazz trio projects released in this new millenium. Bill goes to another plateau with this CD, a joyful & haunting adventure through tunes associated with Clifford Brown.
Sometimes dreamy, sometimes eloquent, he turns every and each track into a masterpiece performance with the notable contributions of bassist Drew Gress & drummer Bill Stewart.
The entire album is fantastic & unpredictable, but it's impossible to not pay special attention to the way he re-constructs Clifford's title track "Joy Spring," a bebop anthem transformed in a haunting ballad; to the tango-ish arrangement of Victor Young's "Delilah"; and the flamboyant delicacy of Richie Powell's "Gertrude's Bounce" that makes the listener's heart bounce during 7 minutes and 2 seconds.
Other highlights: the unexpected marching band groove on Duke Jordan's "Jordu," the fiery treatment to Clifford's "Daahoud" (great solos by Gress & Stewart), the up-tempo take on "Powell's Prances" that takes my breath away, and the 2 superb ballad performances of Richie Powell's "Time" (a showcase for Drew Gress' wondrous tone) and Benny Golson's "I Remember Clifford" (featuring Stewart's brushwork). Highly recommended.

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