Ronnie Mathews

Dark Before the Dawn

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Ronnie Mathews, a veteran pianist long a top improviser in the modern mainstream, was most heavily influenced by McCoy Tyner's chord voicings but developed his own voice. Throughout his trio CD, he is heard in particularly inventive form, especially during a swinging "The End of a Love Affair," a driving version of "One for Trane" and a boppish rendition of "You Leave Me Breathless." The support by bassist Ray Drummond and drummer Billy Higgins is conventional but tasteful, with the focus very much on Mathews' appealing style.

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