Simon Nabatov Trio

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Relatively tame fare for the Swiss hatOLOGY label, the seven tracks recorded by this trio led by Russian-born pianist Simon Nabatov incorporate an encyclopedic knowledge and advanced technique that draw on hard bop jazz and a classically trained style. Joined by bassist Mark Helias and drummer Tom Rainey, Nabatov leads the trio through his detailed compositions, which mostly evidence a romantic aura, the notable exception being the tour de force, "Happy Buckhi Break Tune," which melds swing, ragtime, and hard-pounding post-bop in a delightful melange. The opening piece, "For Steve," dedicated to Steve Lacy, cleverly uses a simple Monk-like melody to evoke images of the soprano saxophonist. Rainey is powerful in support, his percussive statements pushing and pulling, while Helias hits hard on bass. Nabatov shows flashes of brilliance throughout, though at times he falls into the trap of playing too many notes, an easy failing considering his considerable skills.

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