Lenny Popkin: Lenny Popkin

This Lenny Popkin CD has the Lenie Tristano-influenced tenorman in a trio context with bassist Rich Califano and drummer Carol Tristano. The whole is less than the sum of the parts here. Popkin has a refined, pretty tone, like the timbre Stan Getz produced in 1949, and he’s melodically inventive. Though he swings, he’s rhythmically predictable and his solos are dynamically and texturally unvaried. Beyond this, Popkin is the only soloist on the album, and the playing of Califano and Tristano, while tasteful, is quite conservative. The result is that while each track is good, listening to a few at one time gets monotonous. Simply by using a good pianist, Popkin could’ve improved the quality of this disc markedly.