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The Great Jazz Trio: At the Village Vanguard Again

Album Notes

The Great Jazz Trio is in terrific form on this 1981 follow-up to earlier sessions at the Village Vanguard. Hank Jones generously showcases his bandmates, bassist Ron Carter and Tony Williams, rather than relegating them strictly to supporting roles as far too many piano trio leaders have done. Each track is an extended workout. The opener, "Hi-Fly," features an often humorous solo by Jones (which briefly detours into "Les Marseilles"), a fine walking solo by Carter, along with a tasty series of drum breaks by Williams. An intense workout of "Softly as in a Morning Sunrise" follows the pianist's shimmering interpretation of "Sophisticated Lady." The pulse doesn't slow down with a brisk take of "Wave," powered by Williams. Although "My Funny Valentine" seems like a mandatory standard that every jazz musician must record, the trio's interpretation is an alchemy of elegance and driving hard bop, though Jones can't resist a touch of comedy by inserting a quote from "Nature Boy." The crystal-clear engineering gives the listener a front row seat for the entire set. Originally issued in Japan by East Wind and long unavailable in the U.S. after the demise of Inner City, Test of Time finally reissued this highly recommended Great Jazz Trio date in 2005. ~ Ken Dryden


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