Andreas Öberg / Marian Petrescu

Thrivin': Live at Jazz Standard

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Romanian pianist Marian Petrescu might seem torn between the influences of Oscar Peterson and Bill Evans, but works between their styles in a seamless fashion. He knows when to use arpeggios or fleet lines like Peterson, then go into subtle harmonies à la Evans at just the right time and place. Recorded at The Jazz Standard nightclub in N.Y.C., Petrescu's quartet wends its way effortlessly through long, drawn-out standards in tribute to his heroes with the intent of making a name for himself, which he does admirably. He's clearly in his comfort zone on pieces such as "My Romance" and "Blue in Green," with that wisp of smoky shadings that made Evans an icon. Then again, Petrescu cannot help but be inspired by the virtuosity of Peterson, something he shares in his own musicality as he covers the fastest-fingers bopper "Cakewalk" or the equally fleet "Blues Etude." It's during the intro of "On the Trail" where Petrescu's true colors shine, as he extrapolates extensively before rendering Ferde Grofé's classic melody line. With guitarist Andreas Öberg and bassist David Finck in support, the pianist has all the tools to make great mainstream jazz music that is timeless, with drummer Mark McLean stoking the fire in overt or more introspective means. American audiences will be introduced to Marian Petrescu through this date, even though he's a seasoned veteran, prompting those interested to further investigate his previous catalog items.

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