Live at the Jazz Standard
Roger Kellaway turns a “too-ordinary” jazz session into something extraordinary, said Bob Karlovits in The Philadelphia Inquirer. Usually loath to perform in public, the pianist and composer played a few nights at New York’s Jazz Standard last spring. This rare occasion resulted in Live at the Jazz Standard, two discs of familiar pieces made remarkably fresh. Influential in the jazz world, Kellaway falls somewhere between “little-known but respected session musician and known but unjustly little-recognized master,” said C. Michael Bailey in Allaboutjazz.com. All his records deserve respect, but this collection is a “cut above his best.” Inspired by Nat King Cole’s trios from the 1960s, Kellaway teamed up with guitarist Russell Malone and bassist Jay Leonhart to form a drummer-less band. As they tackle the swing of Duke Ellington’s “Cottontail” or the bebop of Sonny Rollins’ “Doxy,” the players give every piece a “sepia-toned” sound. But Kellaway never plays to expectations. He puts a “pleasant, inventive” spin on Paul Desmond’s “Take Five.” He even makes the cowboy classic “Tumbling Tumbleweeds” cool, said Philip Van Vleck in Billboard. It’s one of many pleasures on this “wholly engaging” album.