Pianist Benny Green delivers his first album of all-original material with 2013's Magic Beans. Joining Green here is the superb rhythm section of bassist Peter Washington and drummer Kenny Washington. Green has long evinced the influence of such jazz giants as Thelonious Monk and Bud Powell, and Magic Beans is no exception, with cuts like "Flying Saucer" and "Paraphrase" bringing to mind the angular bop lines of those artists. Similarly, as directly stated in the song titles, "Harold Land," "Kenny Drew," and "Jackie McLean" are also clearly on Green's mind, with the aforementioned tracks truly conjuring their titles' inspirations. Elsewhere, Green reveals an introspective, atmospheric side with the lyrical ballads "Vanished" and "La Portuguesa." Ultimately, Magic Beans is an urbane and swinging mix of straight-ahead small-group jazz that showcases Green's inventive original compositions and lithe, tradition-steeped jazz chops.
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AllMusic Review by Matt Collar