Geoff Keezer

Wildcrafted: Live at the Dakota

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Since he made his recording debut as a teenager, Geoff Keezer has consistently demonstrated a willingness to reshape familiar songs and explore a wide repertoire of music outside of standard fare. This live engagement at the Dakota, with bassist Matt Clohesy and drummer Terreon Gully (known for his work with Stefon Harris), is full of surprises. "Stompin' at the Savoy" may be a favorite of swing musicians, but Keezer utilizes an explosive improvised post-bop introduction that must have surprised his audience when he finally played a few of its familiar chords. He's a bit more straight-ahead in his interpretation of Duke Ellington's "Black and Tan Fantasy," though his improvising is full of adventure. One of the more unusual tracks is "Koikugari Bushi," an intriguing Oriental composition in which he blends electronics with his acoustic trio. Keezer also penned several tracks. The lovely ballad tribute "The Kindest Soul (For J.W.)" is obviously in memory of fellow pianist James Williams, like Keezer, a member of the Contemporary Piano Ensemble and former Art Blakey sideman, while "Ghost in the Photograph" features a fine solo by Clohesy. The only disappointing track is Björk's "Venus as a Boy," a dull pop song set to a reggae rhythm.

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