JazzTimes (p.56) - "[M]arked by stellar playing and remarkable, bandstand chemistry....The trio's capacity for sheer burn in straight-ahead swinging mode is put to the test on a blazing rendition of the standard 'Just in Time.'"
Personnel: Marc Cary (piano, grand piano, Fender Rhodes piano); Sameer Gupta (drums, tabla).
Audio Mixer: Marc Cary.
Liner Note Author: Millard F. Southern III.
Recording information: Casa Del Jazz, Rome, Italy (07/07/2009); Dracula, Kennedy Center, DC (07/07/2009); Fano, Italy (07/07/2009); Festival Da Jazz (07/07/2009); Glenwood Springs, CO (07/07/2009); Rome, Italy (07/07/2009); Snowmass Jazz Festival, Aspen, CO (07/07/2009); St. Moritz, Switzerland (07/07/2009); Casa Del Jazz, Rome, Italy (07/22/2009); Dracula, Kennedy Center, DC (07/22/2009); Fano, Italy (07/22/2009); Festival Da Jazz (07/22/2009); Glenwood Springs, CO (07/22/2009); Rome, Italy (07/22/2009); Snowmass Jazz Festival, Aspen, CO (07/22/2009); St. Moritz, Switzerland (07/22/2009); Casa Del Jazz, Rome, Italy (07/23/2009); Dracula, Kennedy Center, DC (07/23/2009); Fano, Italy (07/23/2009); Festival Da Jazz (07/23/2009); Glenwood Springs, CO (07/23/2009); Rome, Italy (07/23/2009); Snowmass Jazz Festival, Aspen, CO (07/23/2009); St. Moritz, Switzerland (07/23/2009); Casa Del Jazz, Rome, Italy (07/24/2009); Dracula, Kennedy Center, DC (07/24/2009); Fano, Italy (07/24/2009); Festival Da Jazz (07/24/2009); Glenwood Springs, CO (07/24/2009); Rome, Italy (07/24/2009); Snowmass Jazz Festival, Aspen, CO (07/24/2009); St. Moritz, Switzerland (07/24/2009).
Photographer: Giancarlo Cattaneo.
As brilliant a jazz pianist as Marc Cary has always been, he continues as an exploratory performer, seeking new avenues and vistas that challenge his adventuresome spirit. With his Focus Trio featuring bassist David Ewell and drummer Sameer Gupta, he seems to have found everything needed in order to complete his visionary quest. These live performances done in Colorado, Switzerland, and two cities in Italy (Rome and Fano) comprise some of his most exciting work, as well as carrying out the thoughtful, inventive characteristics that have marked him as a true individualist. There are adaptations of standards like his incredibly fresh treatment of the well-worn '''Round Midnight," done anew in modal ostinato trim, and exuberant hard bop such as his original waltz "Runnin' Out of Time" and the boiling, highly dramatic cover of Jackie McLean's "Minor March." As a quick thinker, Cary is able to transmit impulses to musical phrases with no hitches, but he also uses two-handed chiming effects à la McCoy Tyner, inside-the-piano string effects, and on occasion electric keyboards, too. The hyperkinetic "CD Changer" uses many short themes between acoustic and amplified keyboards and the contemporary, funky hip-hop attitude that has identified some of his other projects. Even ethnic East Indian raga with tabla (courtesy of Bismillah Khan) can be heard. This tour de force effort needs rapt attention to hear everything that is going on, but it's well worth the concentrated effort in appreciating true genius at work, as only Marc Cary can deliver it. ~ Michael G. Nastos
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