Back in Town
For a guy who's just returned to the New York scene after taking a six-year break to earn a Ph.D in mathematics, Rob Schneiderman sounds as loose as a goose on Back in Town (Reservoir). Easing in with a program of familiar standards and backed by the sturdy team of bassist Boris Kozlov and drummer Jonathan Blake, the pianist-leader exudes relaxed confidence-"Sonnymoon for Two" swaggers and even "Giant Steps" prances. On the second track, Schneiderman finds levity in a Latin-ized "Nature Boy"-a tune normally taken at a dirge-like tempo-and sparks the bright spirit that carries through the whole album. Lucky guy: If mathematics doesn't pan out, Schneiderman can always fall back on the jazz life-a sure thing if ever there was one.