Trotter Trio

The Fantasticks in Jazz

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It's astonishing that 40 years had to go by before the music from The Fantasticks became the basis for a jazz recording -- one would think that, between the hits generated over the four decades and the extended original run of the New York production, someone would have done one. Producer Bruce Kimmel and the score's co-author, Harvey Schmidt, however, did get the idea to pianist Terry Trotter in the year 2000, and the result is this elegant exploration of the piece. Opening with a smooth, breezy interpolation of "Much More," highlighted by a brief bass cadenza by Tom Warrington, the piece moves to a more lyrical "Round and Round" that offers Trotter traversing the upper keyboard in his free ranging around the melody. Harvey Schmidt himself takes over the piano chores for a delightful eight-minute exploration of "Soon It's Gonna Rain," which is brought back later in a sultry, moody vocal rendition featuring Maureen McGovern. "They Were You" is probably treated the closest to the original version of anything here, but is still a charming interlude, and the producers have saved "Try to Remember" for last -- a wonderfully expansive reading in which Trotter and Warrington each get a featured spot, exploring permutations of the music scarcely more than glimpsed in the original.

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