Roy Meriwether

This One's on Me

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New York City-based pianist Meriwether has always had chops to burn, as he displays here. There are instances, however, where he does tone down and get into more soulful, patient constructions. Bassist Chris Berger and drummer Neal Smith are relatively unheralded, but do their rhythmic jobs in buoying the leader's flights of fancy. Meriwether also composed several of these ten selections. Three are ballads: the moderately slow title track; the slower "Silver Mist," an older composition (1968) which Meriwether revisits; and the languid "When I Think of Miles." He also penned the wildly upbeat soul blues "Soup & Onions," another older tune (1966) that has perennially been a set closer in his live dates. The pianist also has a penchant for jazzing up pop tunes: The O'Jays "Don't Call Me Brother" is done as a waltzy funk; Prince's "The Beautiful Ones" as a steady tick-tock ballad; and the universal Percy Mayfield evergreen "Please Send Me Someone to Love" as a patently slow and sweet number. A little more progressive is the Don Pullen piece "Ah George, We Hardly Knew Ya" in a six-beat blues funk bag with none of Pullen or Meriwether's histrionic pianistics, but with plenty of soul. A blues strut -- perhaps what the pianist does best รก la Gene Harris -- appears on "Don't Look Under the Bed," while Meriwether's signature tune "Sidewalks of New York" sports "Cherokee" changes and inflections of "When I Grow Too Old to Dream" in solid blues-gospel garb where the pianist splashes note clusters and furious runs in showy fashion. For those who are familiar with Meriwether's expertise, this CD will serve as further evidence of his talent. For those who are not, this may be a good primer to lead toward his older recordings, especially the Columbia discs of the '60s.

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