John Sheridan

Artistry 3

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There's something refreshing about the way a piano trio can bring a simple, straightforward beauty to even familiar tunes. Pianist John Sheridan is joined by bassist Dave Stone and drummer Tony DeNicola on Artistry 3 for an even dozen pieces from the classic songbook. With an exception or two, however, the music chosen isn't overly familiar, giving the album a nice combination of recognizable style (mainstream jazz) and fresh material. As with many piano trios, the success here depends on the interplay among the performers. Sheridan's light touch provides a high-key contrast to Stone's heavy-in-the mix bassline, and this balance works very well on "I'm Glad There Is You" and Cole Porter's "Ev'rything I Love." DeNicola uses brushes for the light touch on the former piece, perfectly complementing the mood of his partners. While this group really stands out on a piece like "Poor Butterfly," the musicians also offer fun versions of upbeat material like "It's Been So Long" and "I'll Always Be in Love With You." The most ambitious effort here is the medium-tempo "Changing Partners," an Irving Berlin composition that the trio develops for eight minutes. For anyone fond of classic piano trios, the John Sheridan Trio adds a fresh sheen to a great set list.

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