With a Little Help from My Friends

Renee Rosnes

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With a Little Help from My Friends Review

by Ken Dryden

Pianist Renee Rosnes made six CDs for Blue Note prior to this anthology, but this CD has value to her fans because most of her earlier releases are already out of print and there are also three unreleased songs and a previously unissued alternate take present. Although tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson is a guest on her post-bop arrangement of the standard "Summer Nights," his solo never seems to gel; Rosnes is the one who produces the outstanding solo. Soprano saxophonist Steve Wilson is the focus of Rosnes' lovely "Malaga Moon." But the new tracks are the most rewarding. "The Sounds Around the House" is an obscure Alec Wilder/Johnny Mercer collaboration that proves to be especially lyrical in Rosnes' hands; this track was performed live on a local radio program with a quartet including tenor saxophonist Walt Weiskopf, bassist Peter Washington, and drummer Billy Drummond (her husband). There's also "Gargoyles," which opens with an intense Jack DeJohnette drum solo, the easygoing trio take of "So in Love," and a very subtle trio version of the Beatles' "With a Little Help From My Friends." Rosnes' playing is of high caliber throughout this collection.

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