Jane Jarvis


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Atlantic/Pacific Review

by Michael G. Nastos

The title refers to veteran pianist Jarvis having recorded half of this project with a band in NYC, the other half in California with a different combo, both with tenor sax and trombone on the front line. It's a program of swing standards, and some originals. Jarvis is a laid-back soul who loves embellishments, shades and textures. She is capable of belting out a more pyrotechnical display, but opts for being an integral part of the group. The East Coast band, with trombonist Benny Powell and tenor saxophonist Frank Wess in tow, starts with effortless bassist Earl May and drummer Jackie Williams rippling off hip waves of tom-tom-informed samba on Powell's tune "Life Long Dream." Jarvis plays chippy piano, and very clipped phrases are heard -- an unusual sound. Powell and Wess coalesce, and they sure sound good together on the ballad "Guru," co-written by the leader and Powell. Here is where Jarvis delicately spices and flavors, rather than driving the band. The great jazz vehicle "I Wish I Knew," Powell's soft wail on his slow blues "Ceah the Wizard," the pristine piano-trio-only ballad of Jarvis' "Here Lies My Love," and the beautifully sparse "Beautiful Love" send the Big Apple band home. Out west, tenor saxophonist Tommy Newsom and trombonist Dan Barrett join Jarvis, drummer Jake Hanna and bassist David Stone for another six-pack. A gentle trio version of "Georgia On My Mind" leads off; Newsom's robust, always enjoyable tenor shows the way for "I Concentrate On You"; and the easy blues of "Baltimore Oriole" has the oft-neglected trumpet master Bill Berry in the driver's seat. Barrett gets a feature on the easily swung Jarvis/Gunnar Jacobsen original "Rachel"; tenor sax and trombone zip along during "Just One of Those Things"; and the finale "After Twelve O'Clock" has just Jarvis and Barrett wistfully baring their souls. If there's a difference in the sessions, it would seem that Jarvis is more sublimated by the California cats, where she's more of a leader in New York. She's a marvelous player throughout, though, sporting a solidly jazz-based musical concept. Besides, anyone who played organ in ballparks for the Milwaukee Braves and New York Mets is all right in this reviewer's book. Recommended.

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