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Chris Anderson: Live At Bradley’s

Herbie Hancock told me that pianist Chris Anderson, his former short-time teacher, has remarkable harmonic sensibilities. That skill is heard from the jump with Lee Morgan’s beautiful “Ceora” (mislabled on the CD as “Seora”) as evidence. The biggest drawback to really experiencing Anderson as a trio player is the recording’s dime-store sonics, which sounds like a surreptitiously taped session made under one a table at Bradley’s, the late, lamented piano bar.

Anderson, bless him, is hardly a straight-shooter, and his eccentricities at times confound even his triomates-bassist Ray Drummond and alternating drummers Billy Higgins and Frank Gant-which is quite clear on the turnaround of “Ceora.” Clearly this wasn’t a regularly working band, but the spontaneous feel is not without its charms. Given ample space to allow the music to breathe and develop-such as the luxurious near 15-minute excursion on “Body and Soul”-Anderson invests each of the six nuggets here with a relaxed purity that sets him apart from the pack. He delivers “It Never Entered My Mind” and “Somewhere” as solo vehicles, which is where he is perhaps best experienced. On the former, as when he arrives at the theme, his unusual harmonic approach is evident.

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