Dick Katz

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Dick Katz had a long career in jazz, though a relatively small discography as a leader. These 1992 sessions for Reservoir represent the next to last CD that he made under his own name, with the pianist joined by two veterans, bassist Steve LaSpina and drummer Ben Riley. While Katz has considerable chops, he is not an overly busy pianist on these selections, giving the music plenty of breathing space and room for the input of his sidemen. His breezy take of Miles Davis' "Solar" is a playful affair, while the trio is in jaunty spirits throughout Charlie Parker's "Steeplechase," an imaginative reworking of "I Got Rhythm." There are also plenty of standards, including an intricate study of "There Is No Greater Love" that swings like mad, while his creative take of the old warhorse "Limehouse Blues" incorporates a bit of Claude Debussy's impressionism. It's always great when a leader takes the time to put the spotlight on a contemporary's composition that isn't well-known. His adaptation of pianist/vocalist Daryl Sherman's "Samburan" is a sauntering affair that makes it seem like a perfect soundtrack for a detective show. Sadly, Dick Katz only made one more recording for Reservoir prior to his death in 2009, while this outing is easily one of his best.

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