Peter Beets

New Groove

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European jazz pianist Peter Beets is unmistakably influenced by the piano/guitar/bass-oriented small ensembles of Oscar Peterson -- think Peterson, Herb Ellis, and Ray Brown. It's a "new groove" for Beets, but not really in the overall jazz continuum. For the majority of this date, Beets uses Americans Joe Cohn (guitar) and Reuben Rogers (bass) to play well-known jazz standards, and they hold up without a drummer. The unhurried "I'm Old Fashioned," the ballad take of Dave Brubeck's "In Your Own Sweet Way," the late-night Django Reinhardt tribute "Nuages," and the languid "But Beautiful" harness the trio in mellow moods. Beets, clearly a virtuoso, is quite able to cut loose here and there, especially during the Brubeck number, where he plays a cluster of notes contrasting Cohn's very few, and during Oscar Pettiford's quick and quaint "Tricotism." Only on "Three Little Words" does Beets abdicate, as a witty Cohn plays the lead melody. There are four remaining tracks featuring the Dutch threesome of Beets with Martijn Van Iterson (guitar) and Ruud Jacobs (bass). Surprisingly, these selections have more energy, as on the bouncy "You're My Everything" and Stan Getz's variation of "Cherokee," titled "Parker 51," displaying the honest, upbeat spirit of the Peterson trio better than the others. The bluesy, breezy cover of Nat King Cole's "Easy Listening Blues" further evokes what Peterson's trio was able to accomplish with more internal intensity. This is not a breakthrough recording from Beets, but a credible effort nonetheless.

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