James Campbell

Manhattan Echoes

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This trio session probably slipped under the radar of many jazz writers and broadcasters because it was recorded for a small Canadian label, but it is well worth adding to one's search list. Both clarinetist James Campbell and bassist Dave Young are Canadians, while pianist Gene DiNovi grew up amid the hustle of New York City; together they make beautiful music in a program mixing timeless standards, show tunes, and originals contributed by members of the trio or other jazz musicians. DiNovi's dreamy introduction to "Stardust" sets the mood, with Campbell seeming unwilling at first to break the spell cast by the pianist until he's had a chance to stretch out. The clarinetist captures the wistful air of "Somewhere" with an almost reverent backing from his bandmates. Their playful approach to Fats Waller's "Jitterbug Waltz" is surprisingly subtle, while the haunting tone set by their arrangement of "Goodbye" is also memorable. "Celia" is not Bud Powell's tune of the same name, but an easygoing waltz by DiNovi. Young, a first-call bassist by the likes of Oscar Peterson and Oliver Jones, provides a solid rhythmic foundation.

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