Bert Seager

Lima Beans

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Boston's veteran jazz pianist Bert Seager has fronted a variety of larger ensembles and piano-bass-drums trios (the KJB project being his most prominent), but here a new trio is offered, featuring native Peruvians in bassist Jorge Roeder and drummer Jorge Perez Albela. Though the deep green lima bean vegetable usually paired with corn in succotash is displayed in the cover art, the reference also pertains to the sidemen's home of Lima, and Boston's nickname as Beantown. Cleverness aside, there's not only smart and well-crafted modern jazz present, but innate beauty and serene confidence in Seager's music that is coming more to the forefront these days, as rat race Big Dig society becomes more pronounced. Seager's content embraces many emotional aspects, whether in oceanic mystery as on the Mike Nock reminiscent "Prelude"; a circle-the-wagons melodic approach for his originally penned and titled "How High Is the Ocean"; or the lilting, slightly tango-tinged, wishful-thinking "Learning to Trust in Love." Conversely, "Bounce" is set in a rock rhythm contrasting Seager's wandering piano, while "Wait Less" (another of several witty titles) is led by Roeder's bass in a children's song mode, followed by a joined and unjoined piano line. Seager's specialty is the contemporary spirit song, best exemplified by the modal "Rockturne," moving through beats of six and four in the prettiest, flowering visage. Two sensitive ballads are included, as well as Seager singing in a slightly innocent manner (easily compared to Bob Dorough) on "When Singing Just Sing," a playful waltz encouraging us all to simplify life. While Bert Seager is one of the most intelligent contemporary jazz pianists out there, he's also very enjoyable to anyone who likes well-played music. On this effort he's able to extend his olive branches a bit more while losing none of the flavor that makes his tasty music special in its own way.

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