If you've been following Mark Applebaum's output on the label Innova, this CD can be a bit disconcerting, especially if you weren't aware of the man's jazz activities. The Applebaum Jazz Piano Duo features father Bob Applebaum and son Mark Applebaum in an intimate setting. The experimental aspect of the latter's work goes unsuspected throughout the 12 standards and four originals on this set, but it is still there, lurking in the arrangements and popping its head up in the piece "Titled," which is very abstract. But for the most part The Apple Doesn't Fall Far From the Tree is a collection of bop up-tempo tunes and ballads that are elegantly played and recorded, nice dinner music by candlelight. The fun begins when you study it closer. You'll find a dodecaphonic walking bassline in the familiar "Caravan," Miles Davis' "All Blues" transformed from a 6/8 to a 3/4 (and it changes the groove a lot more than what you'd think), and Bill Evans' "Funkallero" unexpectedly invaded by Rachmaninoff and Beethoven. No piece is left unaltered. On top of it all the pianists have excellent chops, especially Mark, who can conceal a lot of "out" jazz in his "in" playing. The sympathy factor is through the roof, but this CD, however conventional-sounding it may seem (and, deep down, is), goes way beyond a father-and-son team.
AllMusic Review by François Couture