JazzTimes (p.123) - "Kellaway, with his distinctive, aggressive touch and angular phrasing and far-reaching ideas, has yet evoked, on every one of the ten tracks, the large, looming, beneficent presence of Oscar [Peterson]..."
Roger Kellaway: Bruce Forman (guitar); Roger Kellaway (piano); Dan Lutz (bass instrument).
With his series of Bobby Darin tributes behind him, Roger Kellaway turned his attention to the inspiration for his 21st century trio -- Oscar Peterson's piano/guitar/bass trios of the 1950s. The King Cole Trio may have been a model, too, but above all, it is Peterson's trios that mostly hover over this collection, right down to the song selection, all but two of which were performed by Peterson. That said, let it be known that this trio doesn't really operate like any other trios of this sort that you may have heard. As always, Kellaway loves to throw unpredictable curves into his improvisations, drawing upon the entire history of jazz piano, classical avant-garde ideas, and his own quirky personality. Guitarist Bruce Forman and bassist Brad Lutz don't seem the least bit fazed, as they are more than willing to weave along with the pianist in passages of weird contrapuntal interplay. When at certain unpredictable moments Kellaway starts taking "Killer Joe" apart, Forman and Lutz thrum away at the vamp, unperturbed. Both Kellaway and Forman are the solo stars of "Cotton Tail," which either appropriately swings its frickin' tail off or evolves into a delicious, seemingly pulseless, tangled texture. There is a startling moment when "Night Train" suddenly revs up into double-time near the close, provoking amazed laughter from someone on the session. Kellaway's sole composition, "I'm Smiling Again," finds Lutz playing most of the head and trading solos equally with the pianist -- which reminds us that Kellaway got his start in music on both bass and piano. The biggest technical challenge of the CD is Monk's "52nd Street Theme" -- a Peterson showpiece that Kellaway nevertheless takes in an irrepressibly different direction within this format. Tradition may rule here, but these virtuosos can't help but have fun with it. ~ Richard S. Ginell