Review: Alan Broadbent’s New York Notes

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Since he moved from California to New York several years ago, Alan Broadbent has expanded his multifaceted ways as pianist, composer and conductor-arranger for major singers including Diana Krall, Natalie Cole, Sheila Jordan and the British discovery Georgia Mancio. New York Notes finds Broadbent leading a trio. That is the setting that brought him to the attention of audiences and critics early in his career. His associations with Woody Herman, John Klemmer and Charlie Haden’s Quartet West were milestones in his progress. New York Notes is another.

This is Broadbent reaching into his early bebop inheritance and expanding on it. In the company of longtime collaborators bassist Harvie S and drummer Billy Mintz, he reflects influences including Clifford Brown, Gigi Gryce, Lennie Tristano, Frederic Chopin and Tadd Dameron. In addition, he unveils three of his new compositions. “Clifford Notes,” inspired by trumpeter Brown, suggests Brown’s lyricism and, according to Allen Morrison’s liner notes, led Harvie S. to predict that the piece could become a new jazz standard. “Waltz Prelude” originates in Chopin’s Opus 28 Prelude in F-sharp minor and is laced not only with reminders of Chopin but also of hints at Broadbent’s love of the blues. Benny Harris’s “Crazeology,” one of many bop pieces built on the structure of “I Got Rhythm,” elicits a spirited solo (to say the least) from Harvie S. Broadbent’s “Continuity” features opposing lines within the rhythm section and inspires riveting intervals in Harvie S’s bass solo. Broadbent rolls into the harmonies of “Fine And Dandy” with the kind of irresistible forward motion and continuity of line that Bud Powell was accustomed to giving the piece. Indeed, the album may be considered a part of the Powell legacy that challenges generations of pianists. Few contemporary players of the instrument have risen to the challenge as impressively as Broadbent. Here is his composition “Continuity.”

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This story appears courtesy of Rifftides by Doug Ramsey.
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