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Drummonds: Pas de Trois

In 13 years of playing together, drummer Billy Drummond, pianist Renee Rosnes (Mrs. Billy Drummond) and bassist Ray Drummond (no relation to either) have bonded into a trio of notable cohesiveness and empathy. Rosnes told liner notes writer Ted Panken that the Drummonds’ goal in their second CD was to achieve the relaxation and spontaneity they had at Bradley’s, the late, lamented Greenwich Village piano club. They succeed in a collection of songbook standards plus Paul Arslanian’s “Pas de Trois” and Wayne Shorter’s “Miyako.”

Most of the pieces qualify for the conventional category of ballads. The trio’s inclination is to rhythmic as well as melodic and harmonic expressiveness, so that swing is the order of the day even in an exquisite medium-slow “Haunted Heart” and a gliding waltz treatment of “Emily.” They further indulge their predilection for three-quarter time in “Miyako” and “Pas de Trois.” Arslanian’s waltz, with its interesting progressions and lilting bridge, has the makings of a jazz standard. This performance features an incisive Ray Drummond bass solo, “Golden Earrings” another. Billy Drummond solos briefly as an introduction to “You and the Night and the Music” and behind a vamp in “Golden Earrings.” Otherwise, he is content to provide perfect time and accents. “My Romance” is a fine example, one of many here, of the drummer and bassist’s collaboration to buoy the improvisations of Rosnes. Her comprehensive technique includes pedalings that enrich her full chords and blend her flawless runs.

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