The Eddie Metz Trio is comprised of three veterans, all from different continents, though all three make their homes in the U.S. Drummer Eddie Metz has played with a host of famous leaders, including Count Basie, Clark Terry, and Woody Herman. Bassist Nicki Parrott has taken her adopted homeland by storm since arriving from Australia, recording a number of her own CDs, duets with others, and appearing regularly as a guest player. Italian pianist Rossano Sportiello is recognized for his effortless swing and broad interest in many jazz styles. All three players have also shared time on the jazz party circuit. This CD is made of tunes recorded over two nights at the Jazz Corner in Hilton Head, South Carolina, a nice mixture of standards, jazz classics, and even a few rarely played songs. Tommy Flanagan's "Beats Up," one of many bop vehicles based on "I Got Rhythm" chord changes, proves to be a solid, swinging opener, while the easygoing, foot-tapping take of "Gal in Calico," interrupted only by Metz's drum breaks, is a potent follow-up tune. Parrott has two vocal features, opening the exotic take of "Besame Mucho" with her potent bass chops before she begins her dramatic interpretation, in which the vocal retains its sad air, a point often overlooked by interpreters. Parrott entices the listener with her sexy take of Peggy Lee's hit "Fever," adding some playful scat in unison with her bass. Sportiello dazzles with his medley of Chopin masterworks, though he's just as comfortable romping through "Honeysuckle Rose" or taking a leisurely stroll through Count Basie's signature song "Li'l Darlin'" (penned by the prolific Neal Hefti). The trio recalls the tango roots of W.C. Handy's "St. Louis Blues" by incorporating it into their introduction, then alternating between it and straight-ahead swing. Recommended.
AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden