Down Beat (p.61) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "Reed leads with the heart and his formidable chops follow. So, too, do his emphatic cohorts..."
Personnel: Eric Reed (piano); Rodney Whitaker (double bass); Willie Jones III (drums).
Audio Mixer: Katsuhiko Naito.
Recording information: Sound on Sound Studios, New York, NY (07/03/2005/07/04/2005).
Photographer: Frank Stewart.
Eric Reed's trio meeting with bassist Rodney Whitaker and drummer Willie Jones III covers a lot of musical ground. Starting with a dash through Benny Golson's "Stablemates," a playful interpretation full of quotes and detours into Monk-like chords and classical-flavored runs, Reed works effortlessly to keep the most familiar songs sounding new. John Coltrane's "26-2" is performed infrequently, but the pianist delights in its meandering theme as a challenge to his improvising skills. The sole standard is a sparse, lyrical arrangement of Rodgers & Hart's tearjerker ballad "It's Easy to Remember." The bulk of the session focuses on Reed's rewarding compositions. The jaunty "I.C.H.N. (For Herbie Nichols)" captures the spirit of a brilliant composer and pianist who was neglected by everyone except hip musicians during his all-too-brief life. The lovely miniature "Hymn" brings Reed's background as a church musician, sounding like an elegant offertory theme. The finale is an extended performance of his alternately contemplative and tense "Ornate," a piece that leaves the listener wanting more music from Eric Reed. ~ Ken Dryden
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