Denny Zeitlin: Denny Zeitlin (piano); Buster Williams (bass instrument, bass guitar); Matt Wilson (drums, drum).
Audio Mixers: Drew Daniels; Stephen Schmidt.
Liner Note Author: Denny Zeitlin.
Recording information: Outpost Performance Space, Albuquerque, NM (11/2001-12/2004); The Jazz Bakery, Los Angeles, CA (11/2001-12/2004).
Photographer: Josephine Zeitlin.
Arranger: Denny Zeitlin.
With a full-time psychiatric practice and work as a medical school professor, Denny Zeitlin is only able to break away to tour for short periods at a stretch. One of his favorite trios includes bassist Buster Williams and drummer Matt Wilson, both of whom are not only bandleaders themselves but are in-demand sidemen as well. When all the stars align, the three men look forward to getting together to play. This live CD compiles performances from three different dates between 2001 and 2006. Zeitlin has always given a fresh touch to standards, but his extended interpretation of "The Night Has 1000 Eyes" incorporates extensive free improvisation, dramatic changes in direction, and a wonderfully disguised introduction, with all three musicians playing brilliantly. His reworking of "All of You" has a loping gait and adds new harmonies, approaching it in an angular fashion. Zeitlin's rapid-fire attack is at the forefront in the introduction to John Coltrane's "Mr. P.C.," though it switches gears midway to offer a more relaxed (but no less intense) groove. The pianist has long been a gifted composer. "The We of Us" was written for his wife Josephine, an intimate ballad that shimmers in the trio's gifted hands. The multifaceted "Prime Times" constantly shifts its shape, with a surprisingly soft ending. Williams sets up the finale number by improvising a brilliant unaccompanied solo, leading into a romp through David Friesen's bluesy, infectious "Signs & Wonders." Highly recommended. ~ Ken Dryden