Sunday, March 13, 2011

Lee Shaw Trio: Art Gallery Reutlingen

Artists Recording Collective
By Ric Bang
Buy CD: Art Gallery Reutlingen

Pianist Lee Shaw turns 86 this year; she still plays, tours and records ... and she's better than ever. This lady grew up with — and played for — icons such as Dinah Washington, Anita O’day and Sarah Vaughn. Shaw has been active with her trio for more than 40 years, and she still blows you away.

This album was recorded at Art Gallery Reutlingen, Germany, during a tour in 2009. As usual, Shaw was joined by drummer Jeff Siegel and bassist Rich Syracuse, along with a couple of excellent European sax players, who split duties on this session: Johannes Enders (tenor) and Michael Lutzeir (baritone).

The tracks include four beautiful standards — "Falling in Love Again," "Body and Soul," "It’s Alright with Me" and "Stella by Starlight" — along with tunes by Ornette Coleman ("Turnaround"), Leonard Bernstein ("Lonely Town"), Enders ("Music 4 Food") and Shaw ("Tears").

The quality of the music is exceptional. Lutzeir’s baritone is second to none; his balladic tours are gorgeous, and his up-temp romps really move. Enders' tenor is the equal: beautiful tonally, and very imaginative. The rhythm section keeps things moving tastefully.

And, finally, Shaw’s piano is simply amazing; her style is ageless, both in the background passages and her solos. She's a true wonder.

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