The piano trio is an art that is often taken for granted. Nonetheless, those consummate musicians who can make the classics sing with a unique stamp are rare. Pianist Guido Manusardi has produced a consistent body of work that melds his personality with the heart of a tune, without sacrificing its meat. The Italian pianist, who has also resided in Sweden and Romania, sounds perfectly American on this fine recording, and, in fact, could easily be confused with one of a number of well-known jazz pianists from the States. (If nothing else, this attests to the universality of the music.) That takes little away from his individuality, as his improvisations, while sharing a deep appreciation for the jazz tradition, are usually indelibly his own. Here, Manusardi's trio takes on such well-known tunes as "Yesterdays" and "What Kind of Fool Am I?," and adds several originals to create a splendid set of sustained creativity. The pianist's feet are planted firmly in the mainstream, and there is little in his playing that is likely to shock. But what he does he does well; his arpeggios clearly articulated, and both of his hands loose and limber. Italy's popular bassist Furio Di i Castri is a welcome companion, his deep sonorous tone providing a complementary undercurrent. The trio swings delightfully and fulfills expectations with tight, stunning displays. While there are rare times when the product might be indistinguishable from others, when Manusardi and colleagues are "on," they are at the top of the game.
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AllMusic Review by Steve Loewy