The jazz world is full of pianists and composers with formidable chops, but it's rare to find musicians as accomplished as Pete Malinverni who write with his level of insightful straightforwardness or play with his kind of elegant approachability. While both his playing and his writing are consistently impressive on both an intellectual and aesthetic basis, he never sounds like he's showing off, and never makes the listener fight through a jungle of tangled chord changes or unnecessarily complicated melodic lines in order to get access to the musical ideas. One of Malinverni's original compositions provides the high point on this album: "Twelve" is built on a midtempo theme of deceptive simplicity and sheer melodic beauty, and his elaborations of that theme build up over the course of his solos like a multi-layered pastry. The standards are more of a mixed bag -- he delivers nicely swinging renditions of "It Could Happen to You" and "My Heart Stood Still," but "Get Happy" is too fast and loose, bordering on sloppy. In general, though, Malinverni's taste and musicianship are of the highest quality on this album, and bassist Dennis Irwin and drummer Leroy Williams support him with similar grace and finesse. Strongly recommended.
AllMusic Review by Rick Anderson