Ronnie Bedford


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Longtime jazz drummer Ronnie Bedford took a trio of Roger Kellaway and Bob Magnusson into Cody, Wyoming for a live concert. The audience was treated to a resourceful and exciting session of good jazz. One of the more awesome and resourceful pianists on the jazz scene, Kellaway opens "All Blues" with sweeping cadenzas and arpeggios playing against the stark arco bass of Magnusson. This is not the way most jazz musicians move into this Miles Davis classic. The trio creates a new dimension for one of the more recognizable strictly jazz compositions. The result is much like variations on a theme music written by a classical music composer. On the cut, Bedford goes through a set of percussive variations, from cymbals to shuffling, staying well within the cerebral setting established for the performance of this piece. In fact, given the way this trio approaches this tune -- and for most of the short playlist -- they might well be dubbed the Modern Jazz Quartet minus one. The group swings somewhat on "Alone Together," where Magnusson reaffirms that he need not take a back seat to anyone when it comes to achieving rapid melodic improvisation. But even here, Kellaway's piano inserts modern musical concepts in between straight-ahead jazz chords as he goes back and forth with Bedford. But this track undoubtedly belongs to the bass player. The serious mood returns with "Emily" as Kellaway again demonstrates his virtuosity on piano with dazzling runs. But the audience is sent home with an up beat version of "If I Were a Bell"as the group gives this Frank Loesser ditty a ten-minute workout. This album explores the possibilities of jazz generated by a trio avoiding the cliches one too often finds in live performances. Recommended.

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