Mike Melvoin

Oh Baby

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The title of this truly inspired trio disc could be an uninitiated person's reaction to the pianist's astounding resumé, which features stops on the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds, Frank Sinatra's That's Life, and even the Jackson Five's "ABC," among hundreds of other rock & roll-era triumphs. His heart has always been in jazz, however, and this disc gives him an opportunity to play with several cats who are equally adept at this type of improvisational bebop as well as smooth, funky jazz bassist extraordinaire Brian Bromberg and, on two tracks, saxman Tom Scott. All held together by the wide ranges of power and subtlety of drummer John Guerin. Deep into the heavy swinging "There Is No Greater Love," Melvoin cheerfully takes a harmonic backseat to a several-minute lightning-quick Bromberg solo that is a bass fan's true dream moment. "The Melody Is You" is all shimmering piano elegance, while "You and the Night and the Music" gallantly skips along, showing grace, groove, and smart improvisations at every turn. Among Melvoin's five original compositions is the lovely tribute to his wife, "Sandy," which finds the pianist in conversation with Scott's silky lines, discussing her many elegant attributes. The closing title track is more rambunctious than the rest of the disc, opening with intense percussive drum and piano swells and then hop-skipping as Melvoin tackles a punchy lower register even as his right hand dances upon the high register. When you're done enjoying a remarkable trio date, it will also be fun searching your CD collection for these classic Melvoin pop performances.

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