John Hicks

Power Trio

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This summit recording by pianist John Hicks, drummer Elvin Jones, and bassist Cecil McBee might not always hit the heights, but it still impresses with a fine repertoire and quality playing. John Coltrane's "Cousin Mary" kicks things off with Hicks and Jones matching the vigorous interplay the drummer and pianist McCoy Tyner plied so well in Coltrane's classic quartet, while a faithful reading of the tenor giant's airy ballad "After the Rain" is also included. Unlike these impressive covers, the two Duke Ellington numbers in the set bring mixed results: While "Duke's Place" (aka "C-Jam Blues") is given a spry and inspired reading, spotlighting Hicks' amazing Tyner and Art Tatum-inspired chops, "Chelsea Bridge" becomes a missed opportunity thanks to the group's listless interpretation. Hicks' lovely, easy-swinging "After the Morning" redresses the balance, closing the set with fine contributions from all three players. In spite of a few musical missteps and the somewhat tinny sound of Hicks' piano, this fine trio recording still comes highly recommended.

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