Various Artists

Pacific Jazz Piano Trios

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This three-CD set from the prestigious Mosaic Select label has the Pacific Jazz trio performances led by pianists Russ Freeman, Richard Twardzik, Jimmy Rowles, and Clare Fischer. One of the Rowles' sessions is actually a quartet date with guitarist Al Hendrickson added, but it certainly has the feel of a trio. The first disc has 14 titles featuring Freeman from 1952-1957 and the only seven studio sides led by the ill-fated Twardzik (other than a rehearsal session released elsewhere). The music was originally issued as Russ Freeman/Richard Twardzik, Russ Freeman Trio and Jazz Swings Broadway. Freeman shows that he was the definitive West Coast jazz pianist of the '50s while Twardzik hints at an original style that was never allowed to fully develop. The second disc showcases the sparse and witty style of Jimmy Rowles on its first 11 numbers (mostly from the album Rare But Well Done) while the remainder of the disc and all of CD number three have the music from Clare Fischer's First Time Out and Surging Ahead, some of the rarest material on the three-fer. All in all, this is a highly enjoyable and logical reissue, bringing back some particularly rewarding performances from four underrated pianists.