Stevens, Siegel & Ferguson


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Stevens, Siegel & Ferguson sounds like the name of a New York law firm. The threesome is, in fact, based in New York, but their focus isn't law; pianist Michael Jefry Stevens, drummer Jeff "Siege" Siegel, and bassist Tim Ferguson are an acoustic piano trio specializing in straight-ahead jazz -- specifically, post-bop pianism along the lines of Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett, Alan Broadbent, or Chick Corea. The lyrical Stevens has a crystalline sort of sound and his playing tends be quite introspective. This CD doesn't get its title from a real word -- "triologue" is a word that the jazzmen made up by combining "trio" and "dialogue." What they're trying to get across is that they're a trio who enjoys a strong dialogue, and their performances are undeniably cohesive on this album. The improvisers have as strong a rapport on Walter Fuller's "Tin Tin Deo" and Billy Strayhorn's "Blood Count" as they do on "Some Enchanted Evening," a well-known standard that isn't being recorded as often as it once was. Although Triologue isn't innovative, the CD isn't without its share of pleasant surprises. The traditional spiritual "Go Down Moses" isn't the first thing one would expect an Evans-influenced piano trio to embrace, but the song works surprisingly well in a post-bop setting. The same goes for Sidney Bechet's "Petit Fleur"; this is a classic that listeners would expect to hear from a swing or Dixieland group, but Stevens, Siegel & Ferguson have no problem giving it a post-bop makeover. While Triologue isn't a masterpiece, it's a solid, straight-ahead date that manages to avoid being totally predictable.

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