September 30, 2005
To: Listings/Critics/Features From: JAZZ PROMO SERVICES Press Contact: JIM EIGO, firstname.lastname@example.org
Bob Rodriguez Trio at Trumpets 6 Depot Square Montclair, New Jersey 07042 973-744-2600 Sunday October 16, 7:30-11:30 $10.00 music charge. Featuring
Bob Rodriguez-piano Mike Richmond-bass Ron Glick-drums
Perfroming music from his new CD
Bob Rodriguez Corridor Cre-Op Muse 011 Street Date: August 1, 2005 Bob Rodriguez-piano, Mike Richmond-bass, Eliot Zigmund-drums
Corridor, the newest release by pianist Bob Rodriguez, takes listeners on an imaginative journey to a place where the rich traditions of European classical music and jazz piano come together in a remarkable amalgamation that embraces the best of both worlds. On his first trio recording as a leader since 1994's revelatory Mist, Rodriguez is joined by two of the most sympathetic and sensitive players in jazz today, bassist Mike Richmond and drummer Eliot Zigmund. Each of the pair have a wealth of experience with pianists who have inspired and influenced Rodriguez through the years – Zigmund, most notably with Bill Evans, one of leader’s primary role models and Richmond with Richie Beirach, another important influence on the leader.
Rodriguez, who also counts Herbie Hancock and Keith Jarrett among the jazz pianists he most admires, melds these influences with those of classical masters like Chopin, Bartok and Schoenberg into his own identifiable personal style characterized by a warm opulent sound and finely tuned harmonic awareness, as well as an acute attentiveness to the spaces between the notes. Corridor's four original compositions clearly demonstrate Rodriguez's own innate sense of lyricism, while his interpretations of three jazz classics and one piece from the classical cannon reveal a genuine harmonic genius.
The date's title track, Corridor, an original work of rare beauty, brings together many of the most important aspects of Rodriguez's art. The piece's rhythmic impressionistic opening hearkens to Jarrett, as do its subsequent harmonic variations, while its melodic content is more reminiscent of Evans and Hancock. Rodriguez’s playing on the track and throughout the disc is characterized by an understated virtuosity and sense of subtlety that is sadly uncommon in much of jazz today. Richmond is similarly refined and restrained, both as a soloist and in his chordal accompaniment, while Zigmund’s ability to unobtrusively move the music forward is nothing short of amazing.
The trio's improvised introduction to Duke Ellington's Prelude To A Kiss is appropriately fraught with anticipation as the group moves mysteriously towards the familiar melody. Rodriguez's personalized interpretation of the classic song and his original variations on the well known theme maintain an Ellingtonian elegance befitting its composer’s personality and stature.
Inside, the second Rodriguez original, is a beautiful ballad with a melancholy melody and an ironic quality that is revealed in brief passages of lyrical optimism. The thoughtful track's bittersweet quality is enhanced by the pianist's delicate touch and the measuredly slow tempo at which he performs the romantic piece, which also showcases Richmond’s articulate melodicism and warm intonation.
Rodriguez introduces Naima with a short melodic fragment reminiscent of the opening of The Sidewalks Of New York, before playing the melody of the classic Coltrane composition, which he later reharmonizes to give his solo a characteristically fresh sound. Zigmund's energetic low volume drumming helps give the piece the quiet intensity that sets it apart from many other versions of the song.
It's Not That Dark, the third original by Rodriguez, is an ethereal atmospheric piece on which the composer utilizes the full range of the piano, juxtaposing upper and lower register melodic passages to give the song alternating moods of tension and release. Richmond’s solo is one of the composition’s bright moments.
Violinist Fritz Kreisler's Liebesleid (Love's Sorrow) was introduced to Rodriguez by his wife, a classical pianist. He found it to be a perfect vehicle for his style of jazz piano. As he told Corridor's annotator, Mary Lou Williams biographer Linda Dahl, I was attracted to the slowness of the piece. When you play something very slow, with this kind of spaciousness, each note is very important. It takes time to really let each note be played, breathe, and then go on. There’s a drama in creating a long line – a journey through the solo."
Within The Line is the date's most conventional original, a lyrical line by Rodriguez that begins with a Spanish-tinged solo introduction and moves into standard song form on which the pianist and his colleagues swing inexorably in the Bill Evans trio tradition.
The disc concludes with Spring Is Here, one of the many standards lastingly linked to Evans (Beirach included it on his tribute to the great pianist). Rodriguez leaves his own mark on the piece with a thoroughly appealing performance of the Rodger and Hart classic that maintains its unmistakable popular identity while interjecting his own classicist personality – a sure sign of his mature ability as a master improviser.
Achieving one's own voice on the piano in the context of an incredibly rich and varied tradition is a daunting task for 21st Century contemporary jazz players. On Corridor, Bob Rodriguez impressively achieves that goal with an enjoyable album of beautifully realized original music that thoughtfully reflects on the music’s past as it gazes graciously into its future.
Artist Website: www.bobrodriguez.com Label Website: www.creop.org/
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