On Rob Schneiderman's eighth CD for Reservoir the pianist pays homage to Bud Powell, one of his influences, in company with yet another ace rhythm section: bassist Ray Drummond and drummer Winard Harper. Previous recordings have alternated between trios and those with horns and have included, as here, a satisfying mix of standards-both pop and bop-and originals. The opener, Powell's "Cleopatra's Dream," has a Latin underpinning that enhances the exoticism implied by the title; it also serves to introduce us to Drummond, who takes a healthy solo, and to Harper, who trades some serious "eights" with Schneiderman that wind up as "ones." Powell's ballad, "I'll Keep Loving You" gets an appropriately empathic reading. "Blue Pearl," a Powell rarity, again features Harper in a Latin groove that alternates with straight 4/4. Schneiderman's "Bud Powell Boulevard" (whose title is a sly nod toward Powell's "Parisian Thoroughfare") is based on a Powell version of "Somebody Loves Me."
Powell was, of course, fond of Latin rhythms (e.g., "Un Poco Loco") and the trio also works them into "What Is This Thing Called Love?" and "I'll Remember April," which references Powell's recording of it at his first trio session. Completing this enjoyable CD's playlist are Oscar Pettiford's "Blues in the Closet," also recorded by Powell; "In Walked Bud," Monk's own tribute to Powell; the pianist's own title track, whose theme employs a curious crablike movement; and a joyously uptempo rendition of "Just One of Those Things" that features a marvelous rubato intro.
Schneiderman's playing won't make us forget Powell but it's nice to be reminded of him.