Jeff Berlin: Lumpy Jazz

Jeff Berlin turns the trio tradition a bit upside down on Lumpy Jazz (M.A.J.). There’s a jovial sensibility and party flavor to many pieces, with Berlin, drummer Danny Gottlieb and pianist Richard Drexler vamping with each other, delivering playful retorts and incorporating quips from other songs mid-solo. “Brooklyn Uncompromised” and “Almost Dawn” are among the highlights, while Toots Thielemans adds one of his characteristically pithy, bright harmonica solos on “Toots Suite.” “Intermezzo in A Major Opus 118 No. 2” along with “Lien on Me” and “Everyone Gets Old if They Have the Time” are extensive, musically sophisticated pieces that feature Berlin and company showing that they’re accomplished technicians.