Gary Versace


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Gary Versace is equally at home on both organ and piano, though he sticks to the former on this 2006 session. With a superb rhythm section consisting of guitarist Vic Juris and drummer Adam Nussbaum, Versace opens with a sizzling take of Cedar Walton's "Hindsight" that gradually simmers to a near-boil but never overheats. The trio's funky treatment of "Thelonious" is a welcome novelty, while he also offers a reverent interpretation of Keith Jarrett's "Prism." Versace is also up to the tricky lines within Lennie Tristano's "Lennie's Pennies," as his intuitive interplay with Juris is delightful. Sir Roland Hanna's ballad "Let Me Try" is not widely known, but the trio's arrangement of this lovely waltz makes it a piece worth further examination. The afterburners are turned on for a brisk romp through Bud Powell's "Webb City." His two originals are tributes to jazz piano greats. "For Bill" is a lyrical salute to Bill Evans that shows a bit of his influence upon the organist; "For McCoy" is not as obvious in its nod to McCoy Tyner, as it is a fine feature for Juris.

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