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Thursday, June 05, 2014

CD Review: Jeff Colella & Putter Smith - Lotus Blossom

Jeff Colella (piano); Putter Smith (bass).
(Review by Lance)
Art Tatum and Oscar Peterson laid down the benchmarks for other jazz pianists to aim at. Some made it, some didn't and some didn't try. Pianists such as Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett (on occasion) and others of a more introspective nature offered an alternative approach - less is more. Rather than cover up a paucity of ideas with an 88 notes per second dash, they dug deep into the harmonic structure, taking the melody and  thoughtfully restructuring it as their own.
Jeff Colella is just such a musician. On this one hour long disc he plays a mix of jazz standards and originals. Not surprisingly, Bill Evans is well represented - Time Remembered, You Must Believe in Spring and All Blues are given emotive, melancholic renditions with Putter Smith (sounds more like a champion golfer than an ace bass) contributing in equal measure. As well as composing Desert Passes, Smith, back in 1971, played the film role of an assassin in the Bond Movie, Diamonds Are Forever! He's a much nicer person on this disc although, in a different context, it could be said his bass playing slays me!
Colella wrote the moody Gone Too Soon, dedicated to fellow musicians who left us prematurely whilst the title track, Strayhorn's Lotus Blossom, is as gorgeous as the name implies.
It's not a party disc, except maybe one to play after the drunks have staggered home and only the (music) lovers remain...
Jeff Colella & Putter Smith - Lotus Blossom  is available from Capri Records as well as the usual online outlets.
Lance.

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