Sunday, November 21, 2010

Randy Halberstadt: Flash Point

Origin Arts
By Ric Bang
Buy CD: Flash Point

Pianist Randy Halberstadt is another member of the extensive jazz cadre that makes its home in the Pacific Northwest. Although originally from New York, he spent his early school years in Texas; his instrument of choice at that time was the trombone. He switched to piano while at the University of Washington.

He played professionally and joined the faculty of Seattle’s Cornish College of the Arts in 1983. He’s a jack of all trades: teaching, composing, arranging and writing (books), in addition to performing. Over the years, he has played with numerous artists and vocalists.

Flash Point features Halberstadt in a quintet setting with Thomas Marriott (trumpet/flugelhorn), Mark Taylor (alto sax), Jeff Johnson (bass) and Mark Ivester (drums), all regulars from the Seattle area. Six of the nine tracks are Halberstadt originals; the rest are interpretations of familiar jazz standards such as “On Green Dolphin Street,” “Beatrice” and “Solar.”
The artists perform together so often that they’ve become mind-readers; everything swings smoothly. As for Halberstadt, he’s a modernist but is at home in every style. At times, he sounds like Jessical Williams (who thinks highly of him), but he isn’t a copycat. He has his own style, and that’s as it should be.

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