Harold Mabern and Geoff Keezer: For Phineas

recorded in performance at Toronto’s Montréal Bistro, the two-piano team of Mabern and Keezer, although somewhat separated by age and background, nevertheless provides an ideal platform for the reinvestigation of not only Phineas Newborn’s “Jate” and “While My Lady Sleeps,” but a few other less widely resurrected gems as well. The set opens with Leroy Vinnegar’s “For Carl” and Duke Pearson’s “Jeannine,” which together both establish and maintain a busy but well-integrated momentum. Next, “I Get A Kick Out of You” receives a more ruminative treatment than its usual before the two indulge in their authentically emulated interpretations of Newborn’s unique approach to the block-chord style. Keezer then earns his single spotlight on Thad Jones’ “Consummation,” after which the duo concludes with Mabern’s boogaloo-based “Rakin’ And Scrapin'” and a take-off on Nat Cole’s jivey “Straighten Up And Fly Right.” Quite good for its kind, this recording should add considerable credits to the reputations of both Mabern and Keezer, one of the best younger pianists around. – Jack Sohmer