Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Todd Coolman & Trifecta: Collectables

Sunnyside Records
By Ric Bang
Buy CD: Collectables

The Trifecta is led by bassist Todd Coolman, supported by pianist Bill Cunliffe and drummer Dennis Mackrel. Their collective experience is impressive.

Coolman is a two-time Grammy Award winner who, during a 25-year career, has worked with Horace Silver, Gerry Mulligan, James Moody, Jon Faddis and many others. Cunliffe has played with Buddy Rich, Clayton Hamilton, Benny Golson, Ray Brown and more; Mackrel was hired by Count Basie, stayed with that band when Frank Foster took over as leader, and also joined the Dizzy Gillespie All-Stars and groups led by Buck Clayton.

The trio format demands excellent artists, and this album proves that these guys are among the best working today. The melodic lines often are carried by a pianist and a horn, but in this case the “horn” is the bass; Coolman not only provides a solid rhythm line, but is an outstanding melodic soloist. He works beautifully with Cunliffe, and lays down some of the finest solo passages I’ve ever heard. Along the way, Mackrel keeps  everything moving solidly.

The menu includes charts from the Great American Songbook — “You’re My Everything,” “Prelude to a Kiss,” “We’ll Be Together Again” — and a number of mid- to up-tempo arrangement by members of the trio. 

This group doesn’t produces “background music,”; this stuff grabs — and holds — our attention. One of my criteria long has been Is it music I’d enjoy hearing in a club that I attend regularly?  The answer is a rousing yes!

You’ll love these guys.

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