Over the years, Hank Jones' work has been impressively consistent. The veteran pianist can, at times, be predictable and short on surprises, but rarely does one encounter a Jones album that is flat-out disappointing. Like other albums that Jones provided in the late '70s, The Trio doesn't take a lot of chances, but is solid and pleasing. Produced by Chiaroscuro president Hank O'Neal, this 1977 session finds Jones forming an acoustic piano trio with bassist Milt Hinton and drummer Bobby Rosengarden -- and not surprisingly, the three of them enjoy a consistently strong rapport on original material as well as familiar standards like "I'll Remember April," "Lullaby of the Leaves," and "S'Wonderful." Hinton and Rosengarden lay out on "Oh, What a Beautiful Morning," giving the swinging yet lyrical Jones a chance to play unaccompanied. But most of the time, the musicians perform as a threesome on this album (which should not be confused with another Jones effort that has also been called The Trio -- that session was recorded for Savoy in 1955 and united him with bassist Wendell Marshall and drummer Kenny Clarke). Originally released on vinyl, this album was finally reissued on CD in 2003 -- and without any alternate takes or bonus tracks. A lot of alternate takes were recorded at this 1977 session, but regrettably, all of them were lost. Hardcore collectors will be disappointed to learn that when O'Neal decided to reissue The Trio on CD, he only had access to the master takes. Nonetheless, this reissue is a highly rewarding, if less-than-essential, document of Jones in the late '70s.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson