Thomas Clausen / Thomas Clausen Trio

My Favourite Things

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Following a perhaps overly familiar trio of standards given pleasant but unremarkable performances -- "Stella by Starlight," "Over the Rainbow," and the title track -- My Favorite Things finally gets a head of steam going with an uninterrupted string of trio originals that are perfectly emblematic of Danish pianist Thomas Clausen's cerebral but never wonky or inaccessible style. Working closely with bassist Jesper Lundgaard and drummer Peter Danemo instead of in the usual "leader plus sidemen" way, Clausen regularly cedes the spotlight to his cohorts, who wisely keep their solos brief and to the point. (Naturally, Lundgaard's brief solo in the title track nods to Jimmy Garrison's famous live solo introduction to John Coltrane's signature tune.) Clausen is similarly concise himself, with the result that the album's dozen relatively brief tracks never have to end up in the weeds. A particular highlight is the lovely tribute "Ballad for Bley," a piano solo informed by the style of the Montreal modern master.

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