Phil Parnell

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Piano trios are tricky affairs. Sometimes, it can be difficult to distinguish one from the other. Although this one is technically a quartet (with the addition of a second percussionist), New Orleans pianist Phil Parnell has overcome the obstacle with a varied program of originals and older tunes in which twists and turns, changes in tempo, and a clear enjoyment of the moment are all evident. Parnell reaches way back to stride, as he offers his individual interpretations of "The Touch of Your Lips," King Oliver's "Doctor Jazz," and Gershwin's "My Man's Gone Now," among others. Joined by bassist Dave Green, drummer Johnny Vidacovich, and percussionist Paul Clarvis, the pianist paces the set well, with entertaining solos and a strong two-handed approach. This is a minor gem that should not be missed.

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