By Gary Fukushima | Published August 2019
This album illustrates a recurring ritual among jazz musicians: Friends get together to play tunes, read through original compositions and stretch out over the changes. And this trio’s bond remains sturdy, despite spanning decades. New Zealand-born pianist Alan Broadbent first met bassist Harvie S at Berklee, and played with drummer Billy Mintz when they both were young men making their mark on Los Angeles in the ’80s.
Broadbent’s linear and chordal concept is informed by Bud Powell, Bill Evans, George Shearing and Lennie Tristano, Broadbent’s teacher in college. Included on New York Notes are homages to Tristano (“317 East 32nd Street”) and Evans (“Minority”), as well as several Broadbent originals, his “Clifford Notes” sounding like it could have been written by the namesake trumpeter himself.
But Broadbent’s bonafides as a poet, mastering both the languages of bebop composition and improvisation, are apparent. His solos extend for chorus after chorus, winnowing cleanly through difficult progressions with a steely confidence. The trio sound draws more from Tristano than Evans, with bass and drums staying home, pulsing forward with military-grade discipline. Broadbent is so intent on staying within the bebop aesthetic, one might assume he’s merely a brilliant, throwback pianist. That’d be a mistake, though, considering Broadbent’s contributions to Charlie Haden’s Quartet West, his immaculate string orchestrations and his work on albums by singers like Natalie Cole and Diana Krall. This album is but one lustrous side of this multifaceted musician, revealing only Broadbent’s artistic integrity in real-time, submitting to demands of the music.
New York Notes: Clifford Notes; Minority; I Fall In Love Too Easily; Continuity; Crazeology; On A Misty Night; Waltz Prelude; 317 East 32nd Street; Fine And Dandy. (62:18)
Personnel: Alan Broadbent, piano; Harvie S, bass; Billy Mintz, drums.