Jon Jarvis

Hear No Evil

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For pianist Jarvis' second CD, he employs a drummerless trio with bassist Bob Nieske and guitarist Anthony Weller. Jarvis has a predilection for Oscar Peterson-like antics, filling every measure with as many notes as possible. Weller isn't quite as busy, and Nieske is as dependable a bassist as you'll find. There are originals sprinkled in here and there, but ten of the 14 selections are well-known tunes. The most familiar jazz numbers include a melodically expanded take on "Shiny Stockings," the bop flag-waver "Love Me or Leave Me," the swinging "Pennies From Heaven" (on which Jarvis plays the head, Weller the tail line), the ballad "Come Sunday," and the two-beat, stride-shaded "Someone to Watch Over Me." Weller takes the lead role on the Lennon/McCartney pop ballad "Michelle," a bluesy 2/4 take on "My Ideal," and "I Could Write a Book," but he really takes charge on the familiar statement "I Concentrate on You." At his best, Jarvis slides effortlessly through Weller's chamber-like waltz "Kyrenia," and works in perfect unison with the guitarist on his own "I Don't Know." Using phrases from "Talk of the Town" and "A Nightingale Sang in Berkley Square," Jarvis waxes poetic on "The Leaving Song." A slow-paced rhythm gives way to a forced, uptempo charge on "Lazy River," with Weller playing straight quarter-note basslines in his solo, and Nieske echoing that stance in his spotlight section. The 12-bar, collectively composed "Pop's Blues" finds the leader exploding with arpeggiated, rapid-fire figures and some boogie-woogie inflections. It's clear that Jarvis is enamored with speed, and he often plays the chronic pyrotechnic, sacrificing musicality in the process. But the improvisational and tuneful content is substantive for the most part, and this provides for some interesting musical moments. The drummer is missed, though.

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