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John Beasley  |  SKU: 5Y90Y4-Y1I0-00  |  Barcode: 724101951022

John Beasley - Positootly! [CD]

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Keyboardist John Beasley's positive, vibrant take on a variety of modern jazz styles takes shape on this recording, where his playing and ample talent as a composer are showcased. This effort takes into account his New Orleans heritage with an incumbent approach, embraces hard bop, and on occasion fusion or a look at the funky side of things. The core trio of Beasley, drummer Jeff Watts, and bassist James Genus is an unstoppable force, while trumpeter Brian Lynch and especially Bennie Maupin on tenor and soprano sax, elevate the band to all-star small-ensemble status on select tracks. Beasley's emphasis is on the acoustic piano, but he also uses a little synthesizer and some savory Fender Rhodes, all with a skilled, professional, and inspired expertise that is lifted up by his heavyweight bandmates. He also wrote seven of the ten tracks, including a remake of an older tune, "Caddo Bayou," a hip and hard-to-neo-bop swinger, with Lynch and Maupin leading the charge. "Black Thunder" and "The Eight Winds" are interesting and intricate originals that should easily find a place on legitimate jazz radio playlists. The former has the pianist's three-chord base propelling the snappy, jumpy horns, while the latter track is loaded via Charles Mingus-like stop-starts, with Lynch's muted trumpet and Maupin's tenor in full bop and funk flight. The Crescent City beat of "Shatita Boom Boom" is pure, contemporary, shuffle driven by the heavy, hip, and groovy bass of Genus with Maupin's soprano on top, and there's a funky gumbo treatment of the Bobby Timmons evergreen "So Tired," with the Fender Rhodes piano of Beasley lending it a '70s feel. Piano-bass-drums trio tracks include the title selection, which is a busy and happy neo-bop number à a Chick Corea with much interaction, especially between Beasley and Watts, while a revised version of the Antonio Carlos Jobim standard "Dindi" is stewed in bluesy gravy, a waltz tempo, and shaded in echoed quotes of Randy Weston's "Hi Fly." Also in a Latin mood, Astor Piazzolla's "Tanguedia III" is an updated, nuevo tango traipse with wah-wah sounds, tastefully combining acoustic and electric piano. John Beasley is not the biggest name on the jazz radar, but he should be duly acknowledged as a talented and creative contemporary jazz musician. This recording is his finest effort, and stands proudly alongside his previous recording, a fine tribute to Herbie Hancock. ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi 

  • UPC: 724101951022
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Resonance
  • Genre: Jazz