Russell Ferrante Trio

(Blue Canoe Records 01456P)

Yellowjackets keyboardist Russell Ferrante makes his recording debut as leader of an acoustic piano trio with Inflexion. It should come as only a slight surprise the he seems like an old hand at the task, working admirably with bassist Michael Valerio and drummer Steve Shaeffer through a balance of original compositions and nicely chosen standards.

Although best known as a master of electronically engaged “fusion” composing, Ferrante here proves he deserves acknowledgement for the chops and wit required to render warhorses such as “All The Things You Are,” “How Deep Is The Ocean” and Thelonious Monk’s “Rhythm-a-ning” freshly. That said, what’s distinctive here are Ferrante’s own pieces. “Stick” is an intricate yet playful melody, “Network” a reflective piece inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King. Like “I Do” and “57 Chevy,” those pieces have been recorded by Yellowjackets, and fit this format equally well. The two “Inflexion” tracks are Ferrante’s tests of his hands’ independence. Far from cold etudes, they have their charms, akin to folksy children songs dressed up for a prestigious recital while retaining their roots.

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