The Rossano Sportiello Trio / Rossano Sportiello

Lucky to Be Me

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Rossano Sportiello covers a lot of territory during this trio session with bassist Frank Tate and drummer Dennis Mackrel (both of whom have extensive resumes of playing with jazz greats), mixing standards, jazz compositions, and originals with a surprise or two. Cootie Williams' easygoing "I Don't Know," an obscurity from the 1940s, receives an elegant reading by the pianist, who gives plenty of space to Tate and Mackrel to solo as well. Few pianists have explored the great Bill Evans' "Show-Type Tune," but Sportiello delivers a delightful take of this upbeat gem, infusing it with his own distinctive touch. Tate take the initial solo in the snappy take of Tommy Flanagan's "Beat's Up," with the leader showing plenty of bop chops as he takes over. Sportiello also brings a fresh look to standards. His loping, whimsical take of "When I Grown Too Old to Dream" and dreamy, spacious interpretation of "Lucky to Be Me" prove to be memorable. If that's not enough to prompt one to purchase this rewarding CD, Sportiello's infectious tribute "Bluesy Basie" captures the flavor of the late bandleader, while the pianist recalls his classical roots with a magical solo rendition of Bach's Prelude 14 in F#, Vol. 2 from the Well Tempered Clavier.

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