Andy Ezrin


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After years of memorably backing the Grammy-winning jazz vocal group New York Voices, Andy Ezrin's talent finally comes front and center, and it is huge. A classy pianist with great technique, humor, and heart, Ezrin shows both imagination and respect for melody. He can play strong or tender, wry or swinging, and his arrangements here are notably fresh, as well as nuanced, dynamic, and cohesive. The opening "Caravan" is a magical desert oasis, followed by an "Autumn in New York" that's more twilight than traffic. Soon the trio smokes and burns on "Just One of Those Things" and "What Is This Thing Called Love," then grins all the way through "Sometimes I'm Happy." The Gershwin and Beatles tunes are particularly lush. You can utterly trust this journey; the set is so well-sequenced that its mood shifts feel organic -- there's no danger of having to vault from the couch to shorten or skip any track. Two gifted guests contribute additional colors: vibeist Jean-Baptiste Bocle adds shimmer to "Stompin' at the Savoy" and Ezrin's gorgeous ballad, "Indigo Dreams," while tenorman Donny McCaslin sounds like a jive preacher on the sly reading of "It Ain't Necessarily So." The two rhythm sections are consistently superb, and also intriguing to compare. With 11 tracks and zero clich├ęs, this is a stunning debut that sparkles from beginning to end. Highly recommended.

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