BRUCE BARTH TRIO, LIVE AT SMALLS


Bruce Barth is a pianist of uncommon musicality inasmuch as he can find the innate swing in any tune or musical concept, whether accompanying Tony Bennett or leading his own bands. Apart from a dozen of his own albums, he’s performed on more than 100 other recordings. If you don’t know Barth, “Live At Smalls” (smallsLIVE) is an essential starting point and a primer for modern jazz trio records. This pitch-perfect set dates from September 2010 and by natural occurrence, it’s utterly free of pretense or swagger. Those are qualities that set Barth apart from other pianists and here, in lockstep with bassist Vicente Archer and the amazing drummer Rudy Royston, Barth lays out a melodic program distinguished by his compelling originals, expressive interplay and plenty, plenty soul. Tunes like “Oh, Yes I Will,” “Almost Blues” and, particularly “Afternoon In Lleida,” bubble and pop with affecting rhythm. He sticks with a blues vamp here and applies a gospel undercurrent there, all of it swathed in good feelings. Notably, Archer contributes a beautiful solo on “Peaceful Place,” and Royston sparkles on his kit just about everywhere. Thanks to the transparency of the recording (every note and nuance is definite, as is the distinct opening of a can of soda at the start of “Good Morning Heartache”) Barth has been documented for the ages and his “Live At Smalls” is exceptional from the first note to the last. (9 tracks; 66:03 minutes)  www.brucebarth.com www.smallslive.com
   

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JAZZ IN SPACE: BRUCE BARTH TRIO, LIVE AT SMALLS

Sunday, June 26, 2011

BRUCE BARTH TRIO, LIVE AT SMALLS


Bruce Barth is a pianist of uncommon musicality inasmuch as he can find the innate swing in any tune or musical concept, whether accompanying Tony Bennett or leading his own bands. Apart from a dozen of his own albums, he’s performed on more than 100 other recordings. If you don’t know Barth, “Live At Smalls” (smallsLIVE) is an essential starting point and a primer for modern jazz trio records. This pitch-perfect set dates from September 2010 and by natural occurrence, it’s utterly free of pretense or swagger. Those are qualities that set Barth apart from other pianists and here, in lockstep with bassist Vicente Archer and the amazing drummer Rudy Royston, Barth lays out a melodic program distinguished by his compelling originals, expressive interplay and plenty, plenty soul. Tunes like “Oh, Yes I Will,” “Almost Blues” and, particularly “Afternoon In Lleida,” bubble and pop with affecting rhythm. He sticks with a blues vamp here and applies a gospel undercurrent there, all of it swathed in good feelings. Notably, Archer contributes a beautiful solo on “Peaceful Place,” and Royston sparkles on his kit just about everywhere. Thanks to the transparency of the recording (every note and nuance is definite, as is the distinct opening of a can of soda at the start of “Good Morning Heartache”) Barth has been documented for the ages and his “Live At Smalls” is exceptional from the first note to the last. (9 tracks; 66:03 minutes)  www.brucebarth.com www.smallslive.com
   

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